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Main St in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch is a master planned community spread over both Manatee as well as Sarasota Counties in Florida. It is a massive community having an area of 31000 acres and home to dozens of neighborhoods and condominium communities. Lakewood Ranch is as famous for its beautiful landscaping as it is for well-designed homes. It is today considered one of the most desirable places to live in Florida.

Lakewood Ranch homes for sale showed an increase in sales in the first quarter of 2019. As compared to the first quarter of 2018, 7% more sales were recorded this year. In total, 417 homes were sold in the first three months which means nearly 5 homes sold per day in the first quarter of 2019.

As far as buyers are concerned, nearly 50% were from Florida while the rest of the buyers were from other parts of the country. Among Florida buyers, nearly half belonged to the local community. Lakewood Ranch is a big attraction for families as it is not only near Tampa but also far more affordable with median home values being much less what they are in Tampa and Miami.

It is not just a strategic location or affordability that attracts families to Lakewood Ranch. They are enticed by the presence of good quality shops, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and features entertainment and recreation. Lakewood Ranch is a master planned community with all amenities and a positive family atmosphere. Parents know their kids have plenty of activities when they are out for work. These are the reasons why Lakewood Ranch homes for sale are in such high demand among buyers.

Streets in Lakewood Ranch

Streets in Lakewood Ranch

Sales of homes in Lakewood Ranch have increased in most of the neighborhoods in 2019. However, special mention must be made of villages like Savanna and Mallory Park where sales of homes have increased significantly. Woodleaf Hammock, which is a relatively new community, and a village called The Isles have registered an impressive increase in the numbers of sales. Waterside, which is a village in Sarasota County, clocked 16 sales in the month of March, reflecting the interest of the buyers. Communities for seniors such as Esplanade and Lakewood National have also registered high numbers of sales in the same period.

If you are interested in Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, you need to contact a local and experienced realtor who can find you your dream home inside your budget.

The Bay

The Bay has raised $8m in funding for the first phase of the new public park that is slated for Sarasota’s bayfront area.  The area encompasses 53 acres of prime waterfront grounds.  The first phase will create a 10-acre park starting at Hwy 41 and continuing along Boulevard of the Arts to the bayfront.  The Paterson Foundation has already donated $3m to the worthy cause and another $5m has been collected in private donations.

A sunset boardwalk on the bay is part of phase 1, along with the restoration of mangroves, and a public event area.  Groundbreaking is slated for the end of 2020, and a 20 year build-out is expected.

For up to date information, check out “The Bay Sarasota

Sarasota Parking Meter

Pay to park is now in Sarasota, so I thought I’d try it out because I needed a few pictures of the new Streetscape on Lemon Ave (and wow, is it going to be nice).  The metered spaces are designed to give you 10 minutes for free (not the pole meters), however I needed a little more time and bought 15 minutes for 25c.  There is also a phone app that you can use, ParkMobile, and you can extend time from your phone if you are not back to your car in time.  Check out the locations and rules here and don’t be fooled into paying during free time.  Parking rules are enforced Monday – Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, free on city holidays and Sundays.

 

ABC7 Mark Boehmig

The effect of interest rates on Real Estate

Interest rates are still relatively low compared to the last 40 years.  In 1980 we purchased our first home and paid 15% interest on our mortgage, and as I look back at that purchase I’m still amazed. Our only concern at that time were the monthly payments;  that purchase was the perfect starter home for us.

My how times have changed…  Fast Forward 39 years to 2019 and interest rates are between  4.5 and 5% depending on several qualifying factors such as credit score, debt to income ratio, purchase price, and type of property (Condo, Single Family etc.).

Now that interest rates appear to have reached their low point in this cycle, the topic of rising interest rates is in the news again.

I was invited to a round table discussion at the local ABC News station, ABC7.  The expert panel consisted of  Richard Stern, Financial AdviserJerry Zivic, Consumer ReporterLeslie Swart, Mortgage Lender and myself, Mark Boehmig, a local Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company.

The topic of discussion, as you can guess, was about rising interest rates and the effect on the local real estate market.  So what are the actual effects of the rise in the interest rates?

This is the way I see it:

  • housing prices have been steadily rising for the past 8 years
  • mortgages have been tougher to qualify for
  • the government rules in place for mortgages have made the market more secure
  • interest rates have been very low for the past 8 years

With low rates and increasing housing prices, the federal government is slowly increasing the 10 year treasury bond yield, which increases the rate on money loaned to banks.  This will slow down the rise in home pricing, which keeps inflation in check.

What part of the sales cycle are we in?

Another thing to keep in mind, a 1% increase in interest rates equals a 10% decline in borrowing power.  To put this in monetary terms, if a buyer could previously qualify for a mortgage on a home with a value of $200,000. their borrowing power has now been reduced to $178000.

Real estate will adjust to these new parameters, therefore slowing the rise in housing prices.  As more inventory comes on the market the supply will increase, shifting the market from a sellers market, to equilibrium, then perhaps a buyers market.

As far as the Manatee and Sarasota counties of Florida are concerned, our market is a little different.  45-50% of our sales are cash.  How can this be?  Many people retire here.  They have sold their homes in other places and come here with cash!  Others come here buying second or third homes, and a majority of those sales are cash as well.

Keep these factors in mind if you are in the market to buy or sell property in the near future.  Having the knowledge of market conditions is important when the time comes.

The full panel discussion can be viewed here.