Surprising effects of COVID on our local market

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Real Estate

The surprising effects of COVID on our local market 

2019 was a great year for people moving to Sarasota County and our family helped more buyers and sellers than 99% of the licensed Realtors in our area. Builders competing with each other were keeping housing prices at bay and the many resales on the market made for a strong buyer’s market.

The start of 2020 was as strong as 2019 had been. In 2019, Steve Martin Homes Group’s average days on the market was an impressive 18 for our staged homes. Our first prepped and staged listing of 2020 sold in exactly 18 days. We were on a roll… or so we thought.

Then came the COVID and a surprise switch to a seller’s market.

On Thursday March 12th, we listed a 3/2/2 pool home at the high end of fair market value. That weekend brought out the first open house shoppers that were taking precautions against the spread of the COVID. Masks, gloves and air fist-bumps were all the rage. That high-priced house received 3 offers from that weekend of open houses and sold for slightly above list price in 4 days. (I would certainly be amiss if did not give at least some of the credit to my wife’s staging skills)

Although many potential sellers have decided to hold off putting their homes on the market during COVID, SMHG had 9 new listings from March through June. They all sold in less than 28 days. Our average days on the market for the first half of 2020 is an incredibly low… 8, with prices ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 during that time frame.

In the midst of this we’ve also put 6 families into brand new construction and others into a variety of resales. Currently we are set to close as much by the end of August as we closed in all of 2019. From my perspective, the Sarasota County real estate market is very strong  - in spite of all the crap that is going on in the world.

Who ARE these buyers that are grabbing up our inventory at lightening speed? They are people who no longer want to be where they are and are dying to be in Sarasota County. 

What does this mean for you? If you were ever thinking about selling, this could be one of those rare opportunities that you’ve been hoping for. Keep in mind that you are still competing with new construction models and need Little Black Dress Home Staging to help you win that competition. 

If you are thinking about buying, you’ll need a REALTOR that can help you to be completely ready to pull the trigger when you find the right home and one that knows how to win in a multiple offer situation without breaking your piggy bank.

FEAR NOT: The market is not skyrocketing. We are not currently seeing another bubble. Sarasota County prices have been gradually climbing since 2014 and that has not changed. What has changed, is that more than ever people want to live in Florida.

Can you blame them?


On behalf of Steve Martin Homes Group,


Steve Martin Smith has sold more Sarasota County homes than 99% 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