The Bonus Is Back! Why That May Not Be Good News.

Every day my email contains subject lines offering “Bonus to Selling Agent!” I actually found 46 messages in my inbox right now by searching the word “bonus”.  

These bonuses span the spectrum. $1,000. $2,000. $5,000. $10,000. $12,500. $20,000. $25,000. Even one for $50,000.

Obviously, the big bonuses are on multi-million dollar homes. Mom and Pop Smith at 123 Main St are not offering a $20,000 bonus on their $198,000 home.

I am also noticing the bonus is often accompanied by a price reduction.

One example: “$10,000 Selling Bonus to Agent plus $100,000 Price Reduction” offers a nice incentive to the buyer, too.

 Why are there so many bonuses being offered right now, and what does it mean for the market?

Some of the listings were taken with a discounted commission and the bonus is just getting the compensation back up where it is competitive. Sellers want to turn up the excitement, not turn off their prospects. Cutting corners is not a great strategy if you are serious about selling.

Even some of the bank owned homes are offering bonuses. That may also fit into the compensation-adjusting group. When the investors started gobbling up anything that said foreclosure, many banks cut commissions at a time when multiple offers were piling in overnight.

It is easy to imagine agents getting pretty excited at the prospect of earning a bonus on a sale. However I am cognizant of the bonus frenzy we had during the market crash.

The incentives were getting extreme back then. There were even offers of a Mercedes as a bonus, on numerous properties. Anything to stand out and get attention for one property over the others.

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I am not implying we are in a crashing market scenario. We are not, at least not in our area. Sales are brisk and demand is strong in most segments of the market.

There are a couple of areas with softening: The high end luxury home market is temperamental, as it is wont to be from time to time. Some of the buyers just seem willing to take a step back from the rising prices and hold out for a better deal. Others, of course, are participating in sales that are setting new records!

The resale homes that are in price ranges that compete with new construction are suffering the most right now. New home sales are smoking hot. The “used homes”  are having to price very attractively to garner attention from buyers. Some of our historically popular neighborhoods are seeing price reductions and bonuses to compete with new construction.   

Many folks wonder, “Are we in a real estate bubble again?”

No.

Not yet. Here is the warning sign to look out for:

During the bubble that burst in 2006, everyone was buying real estate, but no one wanted to own it. People were just getting into the chain of title, or getting a contract on a home, so they could resell it for a big profit, sometimes literally overnight, without having to do anything at all to improve the property.

It was plain goofy and made no sense. A home isn’t worth $20,000 more just because it is a week older. Or even a month.

There are always some investors and flippers in the market. But during the heyday, everyone wanted to act like a big-time, sophisticated investor.

Today, most of the sales are to people who actually want to own the property, and that is a healthy sign for real estate.

All real estate is local. Talk to your favorite full-time licensed professional so you make the best decisions for your personal situation.

Get Serious. Get Sweat.

All the Best!

Jim Sweat, ABR, CLHMS, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO

Realtor

Re/Max Alliance Group

Mobile: 941-306-7384

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How Many Million Dollar Homes Sell Every Day in the Tri-county Region of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte?

How secure is it to purchase a high-end home in this southwest Florida area? Let’s take a quick look at two of our local islands, and then the numbers for each county.

In the last 12 months, there have been 25 closed sales on Casey Key. All but three of them were for over a million dollars. The average sale price was $2.62M, the median was over $2M.

Fifty three single family homes, on Siesta Key, over $1M, on the waterfront sold in the last 12 months (more than one per week). Average sale price was almost $2.6M; with the median at $1.8M.

When I expand the criteria to all sales on Siesta Key for $1M or more, there are six with accepted offers, averaging almost $2.4M asking price; seven are pending with average list price of $2.15M; and 78 sales have closed, with an average selling price of $2.25M. That is 1.5 sales per week, pretty strong demand for million dollar homes on just one barrier island in Sarasota County!

When I proceed to pull the statistics for all of Sarasota County, it confirms that there is a robust market in the $1M and up price range.

Thirty one homes are active with contract (accepted offers in place) with an average list price of $1.72M. Seventy five homes are pending, with an average list price over $2.3M.

395 homes have sold for over a million dollars in the last 365 days in Sarasota County! More than one per day, with an average sales price over $1.9M. The average days on market is 183 in this price range, so it may be a stretch to call it “brisk”, but 395 closed sales is certainly proof of a strong and healthy demand for high end homes in the Sarasota area!

Manatee County has five homes AWC – active with contract, averaging $1.8M; eighteen are pending, averaging $1.74M; one hundred twenty three (123) homes have sold averaging over $1.5M.

Charlotte County is smaller and has six high end homes with accepted offers (AWC) that average $1.59M; ten are pending sales averaging $1.64M; twenty homes have sold with an average sales price of $1.57M.

Total sales for million dollar homes in the Tri-county region are 538; average is almost 1.5 sales per day. So, how secure should someone feel about buying a high end home in Sarasota County, Manatee County, or Charlotte County?

Five hundred thirty eight sales indicate a lot of millionaires are interested enough in our area to put some serious money into real estate here.

Here are some additional things to think about.

Even though the experts were wrong about how quickly interest rates would go up, they will eventually rise beyond the historic lows we have been enjoying. A boost to our area is that property values have been increasing in most of the country, and that will allow many folks who were waiting to regain their equity, to sell up north and move to Florida.

Thousands of baby boomers retire every day, and many of them have spent their entire lives dreaming about owning a home in Florida so they can escape the cold that makes their bones ache!

It isn’t just homes that are selling. When you follow the money, you end up in the Tri-county region.

Last month, Publix paid more than $17 million dollars for the shopping center at University Parkway and Market Street in Lakewood Ranch. In the past year, it also acquired centers in Sarasota, Parrish, Englewood and Port Charlotte.

Publix is just one company that is expanding in the region. A lot of big names are investing heavily in SW Florida. The UTC Mall is the only mall that opened in all of the US last year. Many other big names have either just come to the area, or expanded in the last few years. I am working on an updated list of businesses that have opened commercial locations recently.

I feel good confirming that there is such an active high end residential market, on top of the massive investment regional and national companies are making in our area. This all bodes well for the future, and proves that a lot of smart money is flowing directly into the Sarasota County region.

Follow the money, it leads to Sarasota!

Sales data compiled from the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing System for 3-18-2014 to 3-18-2015.

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

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