In Manatee County, homes are for sale and people are buying.
The county just saw one of its best sales months in years. In March, the county set a record for the highest median sales price since the housing crash. Homes sold for an average of $265,000.
“It reminds me of 2005,” said Beth Barnett, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty. “We are really taking off again.”
Barnett said she believes people are buying again because interest rates are low and confidence is up. She also credits the weather.
“The weather up north has certainly helped us in Florida,” she said. “The ice and snow and people are really wanting to get away from that and get a break.”
It’s not just northerners moving here. Barnett said she’s also seeing a lot of international business, with people from Canada, the United Kingdom and China buying homes in the area.
Barnett said that inventory is down, and while prices are inching up, they’re not out of control. This makes buying attractive.
But despite the recent boom, many worry history will repeat itself and the housing market will crash again.
Sherry X. Yu, an assistant professor of economics at New College of Florida in Sarasota, said it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
“I believe that the housing market will continue to grow for at least a year or two for several reasons,” Yu said.
She said first, the credit market is not as “liberal” as before. She also said the demand for housing has gone down.
“The demand for housing has gone down since the past recession, especially for young people in their late 20s and early 30s,” Yu said. ” Many have enjoyed the low rents in the past and felt like continuing to rent residences for living.”
She also mentions that second-home ownership is down.
“When people’s incomes change, they are likely to cut down luxury expenses first,” explained Yu. “The economy is on the trajectory to a healthy growing path with minimal concern for sudden loss of income.”