Pre-COVID levels? Latest housing report has good news for Manatee County homebuyers

The Sarasota/Manatee Realtor Association released its year-end housing report for 2023, and it shows a buyer’s market trend with housing inventory returning to pre-COVID levels.

In Manatee County, the year 2023 saw an inventory of more than 2,000 homes for the first time since 2018.

A key indicator in assessing the housing market’s current state is the months’ supply of inventory (MSI), where a balanced market is set at a 5.5 month time horizon for current inventory to get depleted at current sales rates.

Manatee County’s MSI rose 10% to 3.3 months for single-family homes and a 70.4% increase to 4.6 months for condos in 2023.

Neighboring Sarasota saw an MSI increase, too. Single-family homes had a 76% MSI increase to 4.4 months, while the MSI for condos jumped 136.4% to 5.2 months.

“We are seeing good adjustments in this market that will benefit both buyers and sellers going forward,” said Tony Barrett, 2024 RASM President and Broker/Owner at Barrett Realty, in a news release. “The days on the market have increased, along with inventory and we are starting to see buyers having a little more flexibility in negotiations.”

Home sales increase in Manatee County

Here’s how Manatee County’s housing market for 2023 compared to 2022 in other metrics:

  • 7,480 sales, a 7.3% increase

  • Median sales price dipped 2.1% to $509,240

  • Median time to sale was 85 days, a 66.7% increase

  • 2,084 active listings in the inventory, an 18.7% increase

Inventory numbers for Manatee County sunk to less than 1,000 in 2020 and less than 500 in 2021 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The average 30-year mortgage interest rate during those years was 3.72% for 2020 and 2.65%, according to Freddie Mac.