How has COVID affected real estate in Sarasota

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Real Estate

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the Sarasota County real estate market?

This is the most asked question of me in 2020 - and for good reason. If you'll allow me to speak frankly, you can't shut down the economy and instill fear of death into half the population without expecting some changes in the Real Estate market. Selling more homes in our local area than 99% of all other area Realtors* gives me a pretty good perspective on this topic.

Is it time to panic?

As we all began to realize in March of 2020, this thing called COVID-19 was beginning to affect our lives much more than we thought it would just a month earlier. We watched a few homeowners panic and put their Florida homes on the market at ridiculously low prices. Not our customers of course and not the majority of other local sellers. That means that a few buyers got smokin’ deals, but most everyone else is still having to lay down the true appraisal value for their new Florida home.

A Change in Days On Market ( DOM )

This year's DOM is a highly significant change from the past 5 years. From 2015 through 2019 Steve Martin Homes Group listings sold with an average of 36 days on the market. The county average was 80 days.

Now, as a result of COVID and chaos in other parts of the country, seven days on the market has become the average for our listings this year. That’s right, 7 days. 

A New Seller’s Market.

It happened in a flash, we now have more buyers than we have appropriately priced available properties. How did this happen, you ask. It’s quite simple. 

1) Many potential sellers have decided to ride out the COVID season in their current home. Floridians are putting their planned relocations on the back burner for now. Not all of them, but enough to make a difference in the market.
2) Home builders seemed to have slowed down new construction for a few months to gauge how the market was going to react to COVID. That has resulted in less move-in-ready homes for the 3rd quarter.
3) Changes in the local environment of many cities across the country have provided new motivations for their residents to move to Florida as quickly as possible.
4) Families in smaller Florida homes have discovered a need for more living space and their own private swimming pool.

What happens next?

Currently any seller providing a decent product at a fair price, or slightly higher than, should be able to sell rather quickly. The more beautiful it is, the more profit the seller can expect. Buyers will dig deep for the best looking properties. Remember that furniture and decor play a major role in a buyer's feeling about a home. Even though they may not be purchasing the furnishings with the property, it makes a difference in what they will pay for it.

How long will this last?

I’ve heard from my builder contacts that the big builders are ramping up production to be able to better meet the needs of buyers in just a few months. 

If you are a seller, now is your time!


On behalf of Steve Martin Homes Group,


Steve Martin Smith has sold more Sarasota County homes than 98% of the area’s REALTORS from January 2015 through August 2020. Selling $1,000,000+ estates from Panther Ridge in Manatee County to condos in Punta Gorda, he is truly a tri-county REALTOR. Originally from the Detroit area, Steve discovered Sarasota County in 1983 and then moved his young family here in 1998. In his life before real estate, Steve worked corporate business management positions for 25 years while simultaneously volunteering in youth and family ministry roles with his wife Katrina. Today, along with their adult children, they enjoy helping families to realize their goals and dreams. Steve also fancies himself a song writer and plays guitar whenever he gets the chance.

*as recorded by Stellar MLS for the period of 1/1/2015 through 8/19/2020