Sarasota County Schools are recognized as some of the finest in the United States. The School System is absolutely committed to the success of every student. 

To learn more about Sarasota County Schools follow the link below. The official site of the Sarasota County School Board provides a complete directory of schools, school board information, lunch menus, school calendars, etc.  

Official site of Sarasota County Schools, Click here…   http://www.sarasota.k12.fl.us/  

Live Large in this Fabulous Bay Home.  Totally updated throughout. Minutes to the Beach & Marina. Boat slips available. Views from every room 3/4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathroom Den/workout area/huge bonus room.  Gorgeous Gourmet kit, Granite designer cabinets, Stainless appliance’s. Magnificent porcelain tile. Large Master Suite with sitting area.  Deck off Master over looks stunning Bay.  Beautiful Master bathroom with 2 sinks & Marble counter tops.  Marble counters also in other bathrooms.  French doors off 2nd bedroom to deck.  46ft. long lanai off family room.  Central vacuum.  Pool & huge private yard. For lease mls#381384.  This is a Short sale. Call me at 941-809-7759 for more information or a private showing.

Virtual Tour:  http://wcf.thevtpros.com/tours/1112

Local builders London Bay and John Cannon have opened new model homes in the Lake Club at Lakewood Ranch. The community, which borders the Manatee and Sarasota county line,  unveiled two new showcase/model homes. The homes are The Amaroo by John Cannon Homes and The Belita by London Bay Homes. Lakewood Ranch is a green-certified community bordering the Manatee and Sarasota county line. To get to The Lake Club, take Interstate 75 to University Parkway and travel east approximately four miles. The Lake Club entrance is on the left. Please call me at 941-809-7759 for more information or a tour of the area.

Home sales in the Sarasota MLS for April 2008 stood at 567 – the highest level in 10 months, and approximately 72 percent higher than the sales in January 2008. In 2008, sales have been progressively stronger month by month, possibly due to the influence of the new property tax portability law adopted in late January. Sales have climbed from 329 in January to 423 in February, then 514 in March.
 

Bucking the trend of dropping median sales prices for single family homes, April also saw the median sale price rise to $285,000 from $266,750 in March – about a 7 percent increase.
 

Condominium sales prices have shown a decline of about 8 percent since the first of the year, but they are also beginning to trend upward and have remained at relatively high levels for the Sarasota market. The median sale price for a condominium stood at $277,000 in April, about 18 percent higher than the $235,000 median sale price in March, but roughly 8 percent off the 2008 peak of $303,500 in January.
 
“We are very fortunate to live in a beautiful, vibrant community, with world-class culture and amenities,” said Helen Sosso, 2008 SAR President. “These obvious factors continue to enhance the value of local properties, and we are seeing this reflected in our stronger sales figures. In addition, it appears we are beginning to see the effects of the recent state legislation which made it easier for families to upsize or downsize, without such a dramatic impact on their property taxes. Portability will likely continue to be a factor as we move forward in 2008.”
 

The April 2008 report continued to reflect strength in pending sales, which stood at 765 – the highest level in the past year. In April 2007 pending sales were at only 609. Pending sales have been edging upward since December 2007, when there were only 374 pending sales reported. Pending sales reflect contracts executed by buyers and sellers, and indicate more closings in upcoming months and an improving market in the early summer months.
 
Inventory levels were lower in April 2008 at 9,830 single family homes, compared to 10,443 in April 2007. Condominium levels also decreased from the April 2007 level of 6,344 to 5,608 in April 2008. Lower inventory normally means a tighter selling market, which tends to put upward pressure on prices over time.
 

Declining inventory is one of the indicators that a market is beginning to return to a more normal, balanced state. In fact, the Sarasota MLS statistics reveal a lower level of new listings on the market, combined with higher unit sales, which means the inventory is declining for two reasons and should more quickly reach a healthy equilibrium.
 

The days on market, which translates to the average time it took to sell a property, was at 166 days for single family homes in April 2008, slightly higher than the 158 days in March 2008. The figure has been steadily in the 158 to 160 range throughout the year. Average days on the market for condos was at 189 in April 2008, lower than the 192 figure in March 2008, and much lower than the 203 days reported in February 2008. The days on market reflects the pace of sales.
 
In general, the Sarasota MLS statistics show a rebound throughout 2008 – every month seeing stronger numbers than the month before.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal last month by Cyril Moulle-Berteaux, a managing partner of Traxis Partners LP, a hedge fund firm based in New York, the author puts together a thought provoking piece headlined “The Housing Crisis Is Over.”
 

In the article, he defined the basic elements of the housing boom, and the historic trends that follow such a boom and return to normalcy. He concludes that the national housing market is bottoming out right now, and says the return of affordability to the market makes a recovery an almost certainty.
 

He predicts the nationwide home inventory will drop significantly by the end of 2008, and this shift will begin to be reflected in prices.
In the local Sarasota market, we have seen the trend already beginning toward lower inventories, higher sales, and a leveling of prices after a few months of declines. The April figures reflect this new reality.

 

Sarasota Association of REALTORS®

Spectacular Waterfront Home with panoramic views of the Manatee River. Direct access to Gulf. 1 acre lot, private gated community. Ideal for Boating. Guitar Shaped Pool. Create your Gourmet meals in the Fabulous Kitchen w/ Granite Counters,Kitchen Aid stainless appliances, Designer Cab.Eat-in-kitchen. Tile,Bamboo & Pecan Wood floors,2 wet bars. 4/5 bedrooms,5 1/2 bathrooms. Dual sinks in master w/claw ft. tub. Plantation shutters in master. 2 fireplaces w/a 2-way in master & bath and between dining and family room. 24 ft ceilings in family room/bonus room, with waters views. Office with stone floors. Relax in Luxury. Call Jim Soda for more information 941-809-7759.

Construction of new homes in the U.S. posted the biggest increase in more than two years in April, a rare spot of good news amid the worst downturn in housing in more than two decades.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that housing construction rose by 8.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.03 million units. Building of single-family homes continued to weaken, however. The growth came from a big jump in apartment construction, which can be extremely volatile from month to month. Apartment building, defined as two or more units, jumped by 36 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 340,000 units.

Still, the overall gain represented recovery after a steep slump in March building pushed activity to the slowest pace in 17 years.

The surprising rebound was expected to be temporary given the headwinds builders are confronting, from slumping sales to soaring home foreclosures.

The larger single-family sector dropped by 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 692,000 units.

Applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, also recorded an increase in April, rising by 4.9 percent to 978,000 units. It was the first gain in permits in five months.

But economists believe that housing construction will remain under pressure until builders have more success in reducing a huge backlog of unsold homes.

That effort is being made more difficult by a record wave of foreclosures as millions of borrowers lose their homes because they cannot keep up with escalating payments, particularly on subprime mortgages, loans extended to people with weak credit histories.

By region of the U.S., construction posted the largest gain in the Midwest, an increase of 24.4 percent when compared to March. Construction rose 18.5 percent in the West and was up 3.6 percent in the South. However, construction fell by 12.7 percent in the Northeast.

Even with the improvement, housing construction nationwide was 30.6 percent below the level of activity a year ago.

The National Association of Home Builders reported Thursday that its monthly survey of builder sentiment edged down in May to a reading of 19, just above the all-time low of 18 set in December. The survey had held steady at the low level of 20 from February through April.

Have you heard of a new type of mortgage insurance called mortgage payment insurance, or MPI? MPI covers cash-flow risk as well as collateral risk, as opposed to traditional mortgage insurance (TMI), which covers only collateral risk.

Cash-flow risk is the risk of an interruption in the scheduled payments from the borrower to the investor or bank. Collateral risk is the risk that proceeds from foreclosure sale will not be sufficient to pay off the loan balance and reimburse the investor for foreclosure expenses.

Under MPI, the insurer would guarantee timely receipt of the payments, so that the investor continues to get the payments after the borrower defaults. If the default is not corrected, the payments continue until the foreclosure process is completed, at which point the investor is reimbursed under the collateral-risk insurance part of the policy.

The incredible thing about MPI is that it will cost the insurer little more than the cost of TMI, and in many cases it would cost less. The assumption is that the risky loan goes into default followed by foreclosure and calculated the loss to the insurer with a TMI policy. Then using the same default/foreclosure scenario to calculate the loss on an MPI policy with the interest rate reduced to 6 percent. Since the insurer assumes all the default risk with MPI, the rate-risk premium should disappear.

Insurance companies find that the insurer’s losses were actually lower with MPI than with TMI. While the insurer made payment advances, the advances simply prepaid the amount due at foreclosure dollar for dollar. And because of the lower interest rate with MPI, the loan balance and the unpaid interest due were lower, reducing the loss. The insurer did lose the interest it could have earned on the payment advances, but this was much smaller than the reduction in the amount due.

By keeping mortgages in good standing until they are paid off, MPI would help block the erosion of investor confidence that stems from increasing numbers of nonperforming loans. This has been a central feature of the current real estate crisis. If you have any questions please contact Jim Soda or any associate of the Jim Soda Group for further explanation.