Like other Floridian markets, the first-quarter Metrostudy data for the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton housing market shows slight cooling in the beginning of 2014, but overall stable conditions. Overall closings hit 7,377 in 1Q14, down a bit from 7,490 in 1Q13. Although the sales of existing homes slowed, additional new-home closings occurred in the first-quarter year-over-year, up from 595 to 709, a 19.1 percent spike. This is down from the peak for new-home closings in the past year, which reached 945 in the fourth-quarter. Existing home sales fell beneath 1Q13 with 6,668, but were above the previous quarter. The moderate fluctuation speaks to the overall slow selling season nationwide, but overall new-home sales growth is promising. Average household income has declined in the past year for both new and existing homebuyers, pointing to economic and job stability increasingly impacting sales.

The median closing price overall in the first-quarter was $179,900; affordable for a Florida market attracting active adult buyers. This is down slightly from the median closing price in the fourth-quarter, but a 14.7 percent increase in closing price from 1Q13 from $156,500. Some reason for this is the fluctuation between new versus existing home sales. The median price for existing homes in the first-quarter was $163,100 and for new homes $273,400. New home price has experienced significant appreciation over the past year, like many of the Florida markets, with a 20 percent spike. This sticker shock might push homebuyers into the existing homes market without continued affordability of new homes. The price per square foot in the North Port market rose from $97 to $119 from 1Q13 to 1Q14, and increased $32 for new homes from $125 to $157.

In the North Port market quarterly housing starts are up to 905 from 820 in 1Q13. A decrease in months supply of housing mean demand is there, falling from 8.0 to 6.6 1Q13 to 1Q14. With the increase in new home sales Vacant Developed Lot (VDL) supply has declined from 43.0 months to 32.1. Overall vacant lot inventory has risen to 103,285 in the first-quarter from 89,434, a 15.4 percent increase. The peak for overall lot supply was in the fourth-quarter, however, when lot supply was 104,254. VDL inventory is also steadily increasing despite the decline in months supply. With overall increases in home sales projected for the rest of 2014, the North-Port market is poised to see some growth in new-home sales before the end of the year.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Bradenton, FL.