Prices remain the story in home sales, with Sarasota-Bradenton prices falling 18 percent in October, the second biggest drop in the state.
The median sales price in the Sarasota-Bradenton market was $277,900 last month, compared with $340,700 during the same month in booming 2005.
The Charlotte County-North Port market was not far behind, with a drop of 17 percent, from $243,900 to $202,800.
Only Fort Myers-Cape Coral took a bigger fall, posting a 44 percent decline in median sales price, from $445,100 to $249,200, the Florida Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday.
The median is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.
Those numbers came against the backdrop of a national decline in sales price of 3.5 percent, to $221,000, the biggest year-over-year drop on record. It marked the third straight month that prices have fallen nationally, the longest stretch on record.
Home price have been declining in Sarasota-Bradenton since June.
Sellers are giving ground on prices, recognizing that in a local and national market flooded with listings, how much you ask for your home is one of the few ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
“It’s often a matter of educating the sellers that in order to move their property, they’ve got to give on the price,” said Brandy Coffey of Sarasota’s Good Life Realty.
**“These results should not come as a surprise. Price is a function of inventory levels, which have risen across the board,” **Huskey said, adding that “in some areas we’re starting to see inventory levels stabilize or flatten out, although we’re not at a point where we’ve reached equilibrium.”
Huskey said pricing is the key: “Aggressive pricing and positioning are important right now for sellers.”
He is not convinced that prices are done declining. “Sell now; you may get less in three months than today.”
Coldwell Banker has closed 15 of the Florida offices that Huskey oversees from Sarasota, bringing the total to about 160. Real estate agents working for the company, meanwhile, total about 6,800, down 5.5 percent from 7,200 last year.