Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lakewood Ranch sees housing surge

As I reported in my story Thursday, existing home sales in Manatee and Sarasota counties have climbed through summer, increasing prices and shrinking inventory.

The trend is evident in Lakewood Ranch, where strong housing numbers also have carried over to new home construction, the region's employment backbone.

There have been 397 new homes sales in Lakewood Ranch through Aug. 31, a 48 percent surge over last year’s pace, when a total of 391 closed during the entire year, according to Schroeder Manatee Ranch, the community’s developer.

So far this year, buyers have closed on 251 resales in the massive master planned community. That means 61 percent of all 2012 sales have been new homes, a number you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Florida.

SMR has 27 builder retail contracts in The Lake Club this year. There are now 214 homes under various stages of construction.

Typically, new homes in Lakewood Ranch are priced about 10 percent above resales, but as the number of foreclosures continues to fall, prices of existing homes are regaining value.

That’s pushed resale prices in the community just 2 percent below new for a comparable property, a trend largely fanned by a lack of resale inventory and contributing to the construction demand.

During the downturn, there were more than 600 existing homes listed on the market in Lakewood Ranch; now there are 115.

About 36 percent of the resales this year have been all cash deals, according to SMR.

For the latest business updates, follow me on Twitter @JoshSalman.

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