Sarasota Lifestyle Guide

Historic Belle Haven in Downtown Sarasota Listed For Sale

Perched between the 10-floor Hyatt Regency and the gleaming new 18-story Ritz-Carlton condo tower on 15 bayfront acres being developed under the umbrella of the Quay Sarasota, the Mediterranean Revival apartment building opened in 1926 and just hit the market for $12.5 million.

The three-story Belle Haven has kept its good looks. Designed by architect Dwight James Baum, Belle Haven was originally known as Broadway Apartments and was one of the buildings in the Broadway Development that also included the Baum-designed John Ringling Towers and the headquarters of the Sarasota Times newspaper–now the upscale restaurant and bar Sage. After Belle Haven was completed, developer Owen Burns bought the building for $250,000 and named it El Vernona Apartments. When real estate crashed in the late ’20s, Sarasota resident Elmer Whittle took it over and renamed it Belle Haven.

“It is the last of the historic buildings that were once on that site,” says Tony Souza of the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation. “By 1935, no further development had occurred in the area and all the other historic buildings on the Quay site were demolished.”

When it opened, Belle Haven had 20 furnished apartments. Residents had maid and janitorial services, a roof garden, kitchenettes with electric ranges, linens, silverware and dumbwaiters in each apartment. Boasting “modern day living,” its restrictions forbid cattle, horses and poultry. “Furnished by Gimbels in New York, it was considered a very swanky...

Tampa Bay Housing Market with Liane Jamason

Josh Sidorowicz (anchor):

It has been one of the interesting paradoxes of this pandemic.

On the one hand, as we report so often, so many people are struggling with unemployment to pay their rent and their bills. On the other hand, this Realtor say it's unlike anything they've ever seen. Prices are soaring in houses. They aren't selling in days. They are selling within hours.

I spoke with bay area realtor Liane Jamason. She's been doing this for 15 years. She knows her stuff and she told me that at the rate we are going if no new homes were to come onto the market this area would essentially run out in less than a month. So, here's some of her advice if you're looking or if you're thinking about listing.

Liane Jamason (St. Petersburg Realtor):

Literally right now we have 27 days of homes left in Pinellas county and Hillsborough and Pasco are about the same. We're just at the lowest inventory we've had in 25 years. It's a crazy market.

Josh Sidorowicz (anchor):

Why is it so crazy? There's a number of factors and the pandemic is one of them right?

Liane Jamason (St. Petersburg Realtor):

Correct the pandemic is part of it. We saw a lot of sellers not wanting to put their homes on the market because they were afraid of having sick strangers coming into their homes, coupled with really low interest rates and coupled with people that are working from home now. And you know maybe both spouses need a home office or something like that and decided that they really need more space or they want that pool if they're going...

Sarasota and Manatee County Market Statistics - February 2021

February 2021 Sarasota County Real Estate Market Update 

February 2021 was a Seller's market! The number of for sale listings was down 70.5% from one year earlier and down 28.6% from the previous month. The number of sold listings increased 33.8% year over year and increased 18% mnth over month. The number of under contract listings was up 0.7% compared to previous month and up 36.6% compared to previous year. The Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales is 0.9, down 78.6% from the previous year.

The Average Sold Price per Square Footage was up 1% compared to previous month and up 21.9% compared to last year. The Median Sold Price was the same as last month. The Average Sold Price also increased by 8.3% from last month. Based on the 6 month trend, the Average Sold Price trend is "Appreciating" and the Median Sold Price trend is "Appreciating".

The Average Days on Market showed a neutral trend, a decrease of 23% compared to previous year. The ratio of Sold Price vs. Original List Price is 96%, an increase of 2.1% compared to previous year.

2021 February Sarasota County Home & Condo Statistics

...
  February 2021 Change from February 2020
Average single family home sales price $541,000 +26.4%
Average condominium sales price $560,000 +28.1%
List to Sale Price Difference 97%

6 Gulf Front Communities to Generate Rental Income

Some would say living the Florida dream would be having a residence near the beach that you can stay at whenever you want. Others would argue the ultimate Florida dream is to own a place near the beach you can use AND rent to make some passive income. We work with a number of clients that have an expressed interest in finding property that has the potential to generate rental income. Whether it's used by seasonal tenants or for vacation guests, here are a few condo communities worth checking out if you want to invest on the Gulf to produce some serious spending money. 

Siesta Key

El PresidenteA gated condominium community situated near the south bridge entrance to the key, guests will love vacationing within El Presidente and owners will love the income potential. An ideal location to reach the mainland for everyday conveniences and far enough south to enjoy the direct beach frontage away from the public access points. El Presidente is a smaller, single building with lots of perks including a community pool and spa, club house and tennis courts. There is an on-site rental management company should you prefer the assistance of a property managers, plus owners are allotted 1 week rentals that can be rented 52 times a year.

Sarasota Surf and Racquet...

Bidding War Tips to Make Your Offer Competitive

Bidding War Tips DWELL Real EstateThese are crazy times for our local real estate market. Inventory is at record lows, demand is sky high, prices are climbing... it's a tough time for buyers trying to secure their dream home. We came across a great article in Forbes discussing how to navigate through a multiple offer situation and ways to put yourself in a better scenario to win a bidding war. 

 

In a hot housing market, it’s often not enough to quickly make an offer on a house you just discovered. You’ll likely face competition from at least one other buyer (if not more), and it will be up to the seller to decide who can best close the deal.

To improve your odds of winning a bidding war, you’ll need to plan your approach days or weeks in advance. Here’s how you can get an edge on the competition.

What Is a Bidding War?

A bidding war is when at least two prospective buyers have made legitimate offers for a home and the seller needs to determine which one is best. It could be an easy decision for the seller, especially if one prospective buyer has a much more attractive offer than others.

The bidding war could also turn into a drawn-out process if the purchase offers are very similar, such as prospective buyers who are preapproved, made an offer of a similar amount and are both flexible on contingencies. That’s when a seller is in the driver’s seat and can sit back and watch while the buyers try to outbid each other on money, terms or both.

Bidding wars are common—in most of 2020, over half of home offers written by Redfin agents faced competitive bids, according to the company’s study. Although...

Where are the Listings? Why Homeowners are Staying Put

Housing market inventory remains tight as homeowners hold onto their homes longer. The typical homeowner in 2020 had remained in place for 13 years, up slightly from 12.8 years in 2019 – but well ahead of 2010’s reading of 8.7 years, according to an analysis by Redfin.

About 1 in 4 U.S. homeowners has lived in the same home for more than 20 years, the study found. Still, even with the pandemic, home sales raged in 2020, pushing activity and sales prices to new heights.

However, homeowners who decided not to sell did so because of pandemic concerns and concerns about finding a new house in a competitive market. Many also enjoyed ultralow interest rates after a refinance on their current home that made it more advantageous to stay put.

A drop in sellers as owners stay in a current home longer forces the real estate markets to tighten, including the Sarasota and Manatee County areas.

Inventory sank to its lowest level in decades. This past December, Sarasota County had 2,394 active listings which was 43.3% fewer properties than December 2019. Manatee County had 1,552 active listing, down 46.1%. At the current sales pace, there was a record-low 2 months’ supply of homes on the market in December for Sarasota County (down 47.4% from December 2019) and 1.7 months' for Manatee County (down 51.4% from December 2019). See our Market Statistics for a break down of the market.

The market’s home shortage and low borrowing rates have pushed up prices and increased buyer competition, Median Sale Price in December 2019 reached $278,200 in Sarasota County and $288,000 in Manatee County....

Quay Sarasota Plans Start Taking Shape

Plans are starting to fall into place for Quay Sarasota! GreenPointe Developers, and real estate investment firm Cross Lake Partners have laid out a vision for the 14-acre waterfront district at the end of Fruitville Road in Downtown Sarasota. Luxury residences, upscale retail, boutique hotel, state-of-the-art office space bordering the bay, and now builders, Lennar Multifamily Communities (LMC) and Kolter Urban, are committed to bringing part of the vision to life. In a news release shared by the Quay Sarasota, these builders, collectively, closed on nearly 3 acres of land and have announced plans for a luxury condominium and a luxury high-rise apartment complex. “We are pleased to achieve this milestone at Quay Sarasota,” Ed Burr, president and CEO of GreenPointe Holdings, said of the closings with Lennar and Kolter. 

Lennar Multifamily Communities (LMC) acquired 1.65 acres to build its first apartment community in the Sarasota market. The 12-story project will have 240 luxury multifamily units with over 13,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Amenities in the community will feature a top-floor wine lounge, catering kitchen, cybercafe, resident lounge, golf simulator, business center, meeting rooms and a fitness center. Residents will also be able to enjoy the resort-style swimming pool, outdoor cabanas with a bar and grill, dog park and bike repair shop. Lennar is setting out to begin construction in May 2021, and estimates its first units will be finished in September 2023. LMC has designed and built multifamily developments all over the county, with 5 projects in Miami and 1 in Orlando. “Our community will be the premier rental destination at the Sarasota waterfront,” said McCarley...

Finding a Sarasota Beach Home

As Realtors, we often hear, "I am looking for a place on the beach." We used to hear this more frequently years ago when real estate information wasn't as prevalent as it is now. It's easy to jump on the internet and get a sense of what properties on the beach cost. Since living on the water is in such high demand waterfront homes and condos are usually the most expensive real estate.

Sarasota Beach Home Prices - 2020 Sales

I will show you prices of single family homes that are on a walkable beach like the one below (Lido Key beach).

Not a 50 to 100 foot private beach like the one pictured below.

The homes below are not across the street from the beach but directly on it. 

The above sales are beach front single family homes sold in Sarasota and Manatee counties in 2020. They range in price from $1,600,000 to $16,500,000. The average price was $4,124,845 and median price was $3,350,000.

Island      Number of Sales       Average Sales Price 
 Manasota Key   18   $2,433,389
 Venice Island   3  ...

Inventory Up 30% - Will Prices Drop?

Typically, when you see consistent demand and a large increase in supply there is downward pressure on price. This doesn't necessarily mean Sarasota home and condo prices will decline. It is too early to for that. It does mean home buyers have more options and sellers have more competition.

Tracking Supply and Demand

The number of Sarasota county listings for sale was up 30.9% from one year earlier and up 4.2% from the previous month. The number of sold listings in Sarasota county decreased 2% year over year and increased 11.2% month over month. The number of under contract listings was up 0.3% compared to the previous month and up 9.9% compared to the previous year. The Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales is 5, up 31.9% from the previous year.

The Average Sold Price per Square Footage was up 1.1% compared to the previous month and up 1.1% compared to last year. The Median Sold Price increased by 2.1% from last month. The Average Sold Price also increased by 3.4% from last month. Based on the 6 month trend,...

Within 100 Yards of Main Street

Looking to enjoy the downtown lifestyle in Sarasota, Florida. I don't blame you. That is a lifestyle many people seek. Just take a look at the number of construction cranes littered around downtown and that shows the demand for condos in downtown Sarasota. We get inquiries daily from people who want to purchase in the downtown area. 

Today's article is about the downtown condos that are within footsteps of Main Street. We didn't actually measure out 100 yards to each condo community but I am sure we are pretty close. These condos are for those people that simply want to be in the middle of the action. While the Renaissance condo building is a great place to live it is definitely a far walk to Main street on a hot Florida day. 

1. Introduction to Downtown Sarasota
     1.1 Video of Downtown Sarasota
     1.2 Drone Video of Downtown Sarasota
2. Downtown Condos Near Main Street
     2.1 100 Central
     2.2 1350 Main
     2.3 Bay Plaza
     2.4 Cityscape
     2.5 Dolphin Tower
     2.6 Gulfstream Towers
     2.7 Library Mews
     2.8 Marina Tower
     2.9 Orange Blossom Tower
   ...

Redevelopment Opportunity near Downtown Sarasota

Ringling Park Homes Sarasota

Looking for a great place to build a home near downtown Sarasota?

For many, living in a condo is not appealing. Yet, many love the downtown lifestyle. There are a handful of single family home neighborhoods within a 5 minute drive to downtown Sarasota. 

1) Laurel Park

2) West of Trail

3) Ringling Park

4) Gillespie Park

The above neighborhoods are a great place to look if you are seeking a single family home near the city. 

On our sister website DwellingWell.com I wrote about redevelopment opportunities in Ringling Park. You can read about it here - Ringling Park - So Close to Downtown Without the Big Prices.

Ringling Park Redevelopment

If you drive through Ringling Park you are starting to see some changes. People are drawn to this area because of quick and easy access to downtown yet don't have to pay the prices of the West of Trail neighborhoods. Homes in Ringling Park can be as much as half the price of a comparable home West of Trail or in Laurel Park.

The owners of the lot below have started construction of a large home on a 13,900 square foot directly on Ringling Blvd. 

 

Just next door to the above...

Most Walkable Downtown Sarasota Condos

Do you love walking to shopping, dining and entertainment? We get many inquiries from people seeking a walkable neighborhood in Sarasota. There are only a handful of neighborhoods in Sarasota where cars are not needed on a daily basis and you can walk to your basic needs and wants. Below are the most walkable areas in Sarasota.

Walkable Condos in Sarasota

Below are some of the most walkable condos in downtown Sarasota. These condos allow residents to walk out your front door and have shopping, restaurants and other fun things to do within footsteps. They rank well according to Walkscore.com.

100 Central

100 Central condos Sarasota

100 Central is the perfect building to call home. This condo building was constructed in 2005, and it features 95 residences. Each resident has their own private parking spaces, valet, a concierge, and use of the meeting and fitness rooms. The pool is large and perfect for entertaining your out-of-town guests. View all condos for sale in 100 Central.

1350 Main

1350 Main condos Sarasota

This is one of the most desirable residences in all of Sarasota. This high-rise building offers condos with tray ceilings,...

Want a Home in Downtown Sarasota?


Laurel Park homes SarasotaSpending the day relaxing under the palms while the breezes blow softly across the way seems impossible, but not for those who choose to make sunny Laurel Park their home. Living in the Laurel Park community provides tons of convenient access to local restaurants, festive events, and plenty of diverse entertainment. The neighborhood is a diverse area that is full of places to peruse with some time off from work. The area is listed on the National Register of Historic places because of the older buildings, but there are many new homes and more recent construction in the area as well. Homes in the community are just as diverse as the residents with a mix of beach homes, duplexes, single family homes, cottages, and more to enjoy. Residents often pay between a quarter of a million to more than a million dollars for their home or condo depending on the style and exact location they choose. 

Whether spending time with a loved one and a bit of fresh seafood is just the thing, or a day out shopping with the girls is a better idea, Laurel Park residents can do it all. Boating, cycling, beach volleyball, surfing, sailing, fishing, and swimming are just a few of the things that people living in the community enjoy doing in their spare time. Residents can grab a cup of coffee at a nearby cafe while catching up with an old friend. A picnic at Island Park is always a fun activity and gives people the chance to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air when they are not at the beach. There are several museums nearby for people who are interested in the fine arts and the local culture. For a bit of downtime, some relaxation at one of the local resorts or spas is an excellent way to unwind and get rid of the stresses...

Will You Make Money Buying Pre-Construction Condos?

Pre-construction condos in SarasotaHave you ever thought about buying a pre-construction condo for investment purposes? This is a game many people want to play and it is usually only played by the wealthy because of the high prices that new downtown Sarasota condos typically sell for.

There can be a mad rush to buy when a new condo building is released. Early buyers will typically buy at lower price levels because the developer will eventually raise prices as more and more condos are sold. Do these investors make any money doing this?

Below you will find a variety of condo buildings in downtown Sarasota. I pulled sales data from when the units were purchased and then sold. It typically takes 24 months to build a condo. The purchase date is when they closed on the property. In most cases the units were sold well before the closing date. For example, unit 1101 in the Ritz Carlton was closed in November 2001 for $1,260,000 but the price was established up to 2 years prior to that when they released the units (pre-construction).

Gain and loss figures do not include Realtor fees as well as the ongoing carrying costs of a condo - association fees, contents insurance, maintenance and property taxes. The figures are purely just sales price. 

Ritz Carlton Residences

  Purchased Purchase Price Sold Sold Price ...

Downtown Sarasota Luxury Condo Glut?

Downtown Sarasota Luxury Condos Glut?

There was an article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune recently (read it here) about a new 18 story luxury condo tower will be built next to the Ritz Carlton in downtown Sarasota. The new project will be called The Grande. For those Realtors selling in the mid 2000's, The Grande was a condo project planned to built where The Vue is now sitting. The project was scrapped when the Sarasota real estate market popped. 

The Kolter Group plans on building 86 residences that will offer services managed by the Ritz-Carlton. Prices for 3 and 4 bedroom units will run from $2,000,000 to $5,000,000. The new tower will be built east of the hotel over the support facilities. 

Is there a downtown Sarasota luxury condo glut on the way? 

How Many $2,000,000+ Condos Have Sold in Downtown Sarasota?

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 ...

Lakewood Ranch Inventory Explosion

Are you considering a purchase or sale in Lakewood Ranch? The charts below may assist in your decision.

5 Years of Lakewood Ranch Activity

5 Years of Home Sales in Lakewood Ranch

If you remember back in economics class prices are primarily dictated by supply and demand. Obviously, with an increase in the number of homes for sale in Lakewood Ranch there will be downward pressure on price. That does not mean prices will decline. If demand stays strong prices could stay the same or continue to rise. 

Recent Sales Activity in Lakewood Ranch

Below is a chart of sold, pended sales and active listings for the last 18 months in Lakewood Ranch.

Homes sales Lakewood Ranch

Months of Inventory in Lakewood Ranch

In the last three months Lakewood Ranch's months of inventory rose and is hovering between 6 and 8 months. Prior to January inventory was hovering around 4 months. That is a pretty substantial increase. This is something to definitely keep in mind if you are currently trying to sell your home. 

Months of Home Inventory in Lakewood Ranch

What Should Sellers Do?

If your Lakewood Ranch home is currently listed then you should reassess your position in the market. Here are some questions to ask yourself and agent:

  • How is...

Sarasota Attractions

Sarasota attractionsSarasota County booms with arts and culture and is celebrated as Florida’s “Cultural Coast” and renders endless opportunity to amplify and support community development through the performing arts.  No wonder that Sarasota is ranked No.3 as one of the 100 Best Art Towns in America.  

The dynamic cultural scene distinguishes Sarasota as a refined hub for business and tourism.  It is undisputable that arts, culture and humanities can be inspiring in the development of any successful community.

Below are some of the fun activities you can enjoy in Sarasota, Florida.


Circus Museum

The Circus Museum that was founded in 1948 commemorates the affluent history of the American family circus and its rapport with Sarasota.  Visitors can experience a narrated circus and all its brilliance in sequined costumes, baggage wagons, colossal parades and side show banner lines.  John Ringling as the Circus King is epitomized in relics and memorabilia in the museum that harks back to the greatest circus movie ever, The Greatest Show on Earth that was filmed in Sarasota.

The private rail car of Mable and John Ringling, The Wisconsin that was built in 1905 during the golden age of the rail is on display in the museum.  The Wisconsin gives visitors a matchless insight into the journeys of John and Mable around the country on business and with the circus.   

A major attraction in the museum is the Tibbals Learning Center with a myriad of posters that were used to broadcast that the circus was coming to town.  The key attribute in the museum is The Howard Bros. Circus Model, the world’s largest miniature circus created...

Rising Inventories - Market Shifting in Sarasota?

Is this the end of a boom cycle in the real estate market? It is too early to tell but some believe so. Below I provided graphs of inventories levels in Sarasota, Manatee, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Lakewood Ranch and the downtown area. 

What We Don't Want

It is part of our job to monitor real estate market stats like inventory levels, sold properties and pending transactions. We just don't want to see this happen again:

The above graph shows January 2004 to January 2006 inventories. They went from a low of 5,002 in September 2004 to 17,457 in January 2006. That is a 349% increase in inventories which ultimately caused the real estate bubble to burst. 

Personally, I don't see this happening. There are several differences between these two markets. Many of the buyers today paid cash which creates a stronger market. Lending guidelines did tighten so most people who bought had to prove income and the ability to repay their loan. Prices escalated but not as quickly as they did from 2003 to 2005.

We will keep watching and reporting what we see. Stay tuned.

Sarasota & Manatee Counties Combined - Inventories up 6.3%

Sarasota County - Inventories up 5.6%

Manatee County - Inventories up 7.3%

Longboat Key - Inventories...

Season Update - What is Happening in Sarasota?

The post below is from our other blog at DwellingWell.com. You can read it here - Season Update - How is the Sarasota Market?

Last month we were one of the first brokerages to start talking about the slow down in the Sarasota real estate market. After I wrote the blog post I received phone calls from many area Realtors confirming the slow down. Some real estate professionals will only talk about a slow down behind closed doors but are afraid to discuss it publicly. The Sarasota Herald Tribune decided to write about it as well - Read here. Here is my original post talking about how January 2016 had fewer home sales than January 2015 - January 2015 vs January 2016

Below you will find data showing sales stats comparing February 2015 to February 2016 as well as comparisons over a longer time period of both January + February of each year. If you want to skip all of the gritty details and just see the conclusions click here

 

Sarasota County 

Below is a chart showing sold, pended and properties for sale in Sarasota county. Compared to February 2015, Sarasota county has 5.6% more homes and condos for sale, 7.8% fewer sales and roughly the same number of properties pended this year. 

 

...

32 Things to do in Sarasota

John Ringling Bridge#1 - Walk, Bike or Run the Ringling Bridge - Take a voyage over to the highest point in Sarasota, Florida - The John Ringling Causeway. Capture spectacular views of the Sarasota bay, downtown skyline, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Lido Key and Bird Key. What a great way to get some exercise.

#2 - Charter a Boat - Charter a Boat in Sarasota and explore the bays and islands. The boats are often used for deep sea fishing excursions, snorkeling and scuba diving. Some people charter a boat simply to go sightseeing or sailing. Coastal Sarasota is a beautiful area to explore

#3 - Tour Ca d'Zan - Go see the winter residence of one of Sarasota's most influential residents - John and Mable Ringling. A self-guided tour of the first floor of this Venetian Gothic waterfront palace is included with a general admission ticket to the John and Ringling Museum of Art.

#4 - Shop in a Circle - No trip to Sarasota would be complete without a shopping trip to the world-renown St. Armands Circle. The area was dedicated to John Ringling and is stocked full of sophisticated restaurants, shops and nightclubs. Numerous exclusive boutiques are also in the area.

#5 - Go Back in Time - Take a spin down main street in downtown Sarasota and catch a glimpse of buildings from the 1920's and 30's like the Sarasota Opera House, Frances Carlton Apartments, Sarasota Times Building, Mira Mar building and Orange Blossom Condos.

#6 - DeSoto National Memorial - View the Manatee River through the eyes...