Fun Holiday Traditions & Dec 2023 Real Estate News

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The holidays bring about all types of family traditions. One common tradition is Christmas movies! From “The Bells of Saint Mary’s” to “National Lampoon: A Christmas Vacation”. One of my favorites is “Trapped in Paradise" , it is such a silly movie. Oh, and there is “The Bishop's Wife” with Cary Grant and the remake “The Preacher's Wife” with Whitney Houston. I enjoy every version of “A Christmas Carol”, including the Muppet version and “Scrooged”. And the timeless classic "A Charlie Brown's Christmas " with the powerful message and a simple tree.
In our house, the holidays are not complete without watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” at least once and then there is the ongoing debate: is “Die Hard” a Christmas movie or not? ( I say yes) As my kiddos were growing up, those were special nights when we would sit still during the busy season of Christmas and watch a holiday movie together and now they are cherished memories. Cuddling on the couch with special holiday treats, enjoying a familiar movie at home felt like comfort food to our family’s soul. Isn’t that why we have traditions?

There are so many Holiday/Christmas movies, just turn to the Hallmark Channel! There are the classics, the humorous, the new, and the romantic. There is something for everyone! Not everyone is going to enjoy every version of “A Christmas Carol" like me. There will be those that prefer the version of “A Miracle on 34th St” with Maureen O’Hara instead of the one from 1994. No matter which version you grew up watching, all sweet little Susan wanted from Santa was a HOME. Homes come in all types from classics to contemporary. And just like Christmas movies, home selling and house hunting can create all sorts of emotions. Recently a couple we worked with wanted to sell their house and buy a home closer to her work. Their house went under contract quickly but the home they were hunting for was very specific. Just like Susan, they went through times of disbelief, thinking there was no such thing as (no, not Santa) as a house for them. Ray and I kept reminding them, “Just keep believing, we will find the one”. We looked at nearly three dozen houses. Would there be a happy ending in store for this couple? YES! They found the one. The moment they walked in the door, I could see it on their faces, HOME.

Home shoppers with detailed wish lists of what they desire in their new home have options in this current market. They can shop around. The process is like holiday shopping. The buyer is looking for the best fit, the right color, the best value for their money. Sellers will need to display their homes to draw in the home shoppers. Sellers are basically the retailer, and the Realtor is their hired sales person. Sellers need to make the “store” an atmosphere where shoppers want to know more. Buyers are comparison shopping; they have access to all sorts of websites to do their research. Buyers use the internet the same way Macy’s and Gimbels created their comparison ad books in the movie. Shopping for HOME and selling your house is emotional, time consuming, with layers of intrigue, and the finale -- joy. Sounds like a classic holiday movie to me.
What is your favorite holiday movie? I would love to know!

Here are a few interesting market articles…
Consumers are Bouncing Back

Floridian Optimism Rises

How To Be a Better Homebuyer

AFHB or Acronyms For Home Buying

Here is a sweet scene from “ A Miracle on 34th St.”


December Stats & Data
For the December stats I thought it would be interesting to compare one week of local data. We will look at last December 3rd through December 10th and compare that with this year. In our December 2022 newsletter I shared the stats and data below regarding Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte.

What does our local market look like ? The data criteria I used was single family home, 2+ beds, 2+ baths, price point $200,000 to $1,000,000, and the home had to have at least 1200 square feet. Keep in mind this is ONLY  from December 3rd to December 10th.
Manatee County:
New listings: 75   Price Decrease: 138        Sold: 109       Pending: 89
Average List Price: $547,000          Average Sold:  $551,000
Precent to List Price:  96%
Sarasota County:
New listings: 98  Price Decrease: 118      Sold: 77     Pending: 103
Average List Price:    $565,000              Average Sold:  $543,000                   Precent to List Price:  97%
 Charlotte County:
New listings:  65    Price Decrease: 69    Sold:  47     Pending: 67
Average List Price: $441,000                   Average Sold:  $371,000                   Precent to List Price: 98%

So that was 2022. What happened December 3rd-10th of 2023?
Manatee County:
New listings: 82   Price Decrease: 113      Sold: 48     Pending: 73
Average List Price: $566,000       Average Sold:  $570,000
Precent to List Price:  98%   Day on Market: 20
Sarasota County:
New listings: 88  Price Decrease: 172     Sold: 61     Pending: 84
Average List Price:    $506,000              Average Sold:  $578,000                   Precent to List Price:  96%   Day on Market: 55
 Charlotte County:
New listings:  83    Price Decrease: 131   Sold:  39    Pending: 54
Average List Price: $464,000                   Average Sold:  $483,000                   Precent to List Price: 97%    Day on Market: 84

This was looking at broad section of single family homes. But the numbers are still interesting. Looking at the numbers for one week in December and comparing YoY, we do see there were more price decreases in December. Average SOLDS went up in all three counties. But overall no huge changes in the market in this "snapshot" view. Looks like buyers are still buying homes and sellers are selling. And that is a happy ending for a real estate story. 

 Perhaps the higher interest rates are impacting the market. We are asked frequently,  “ Mary, Ray, when will interest rates go down?” Well, I asked Santa and he said, “Be careful about what you put on your wish list”. He went on to remind me, with a twinkle in his eye, when interest rates were super low that’s when the crazy bidding wars happened So, HOHOHO think about Santa’s words of caution. But, interest rates did come down a smidgen as of this writing. Low 7% for 15 year mortgage. And, that puts interest rates on the nice list.

Now let's check out a couple areas and the current market. For December we are looking into an area in Venice and pool homes in Englewood. The Venice one is Lake of the Woods Of Jacaranda, a long established and loved community. In Englewood we will look to see what the market for a pool home looks like. 

Lake of the Woods of Jacaranda (LoWoJ):
 This is a community in Venice that has kept its appeal because
of its trees and lovely walking trails and is centrally located in Venice. We have sold several homes in the community. One couple who was relocating here told me she wanted an established neighborhood, not a new community. Her reasoning, she explained, is that an established neighborhood is where the locals live. Click here to read my blog on the community. Oh—did you know where the word Jacaranda comes from? It is the tree that blooms those gorgeous purple flowers in March.

Current stats for LOWOJ: There are 11 active listings ranging in price from $485,000 to $850,000. There are 2 homes pending and 20 have SOLD in the last 180 days. Sold prices ranged from $455K to $680,000, ½ were cash sales and Sellers received 96 % of their list price.
Here is an updated and gorgeous home for sale in the community.

Englewood Pool Homes:
Englewood has so much going for it; the Gulf of Mexico, fabulous fishing,
homes on canals, cute Dearborn Street, terrific little restaurants, and some top notch golf courses. What does it have to offer for pool homes? A LOT! There are homes in country club communities, on the beach, along canals with sailboat water, and areas without deed restrictions or HOA’s. Currently there
are 126 pool homes on the market priced from $339k to $10,000,000 . There are 21 homes pending sales, and 101 have sold in the last 180 days. The sold homes have sold for the fixer-upper price of $154,000 to gorgeous at $6,800,000. The sellers in Englewood have received about 98% of their list price.

Click here to see an adorable & affordable pool home in Englewood

Check out what $10million will buy along the Gulf of Mexico

Let me know any areas or community's you would like me to research for you.


Here are few fun Holiday things to do in the area:
Every year I mention the Christmas light cruise in Punta Gorda. Well, it is one of my most favorite things to do!! Here is the link to check it out...

Christmas Light's on Punta Gorda
Stroll through Selby Gardens in Sarasota when it’s blooming with Christmas lights -it is breathtaking. Selby Gardens Christmas Lights

HOHOHO!!  Share with me your favorite holiday movie! Oh and do you think think "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie or not?  HoHOHo

Ray and I hope your Holiday celebrations fill your hearts and homes with joyful memory making moments.