March 1, 2024

Navigating Lake and Sumter’s Booming Real Estate Scene

3.2 min read| Published On: March 1st, 2024|

By Cindy Peterson

Navigating Lake and Sumter’s Booming Real Estate Scene

3.2 min read| Published On: March 1st, 2024|

Navigating Lake and Sumter’s booming real estate scene.

The local real estate market is experiencing a remarkable surge with soaring median sales figures, an increase in closings and a growing interest from prospective buyers. 

To understand what’s going on, we turned to Steve McDonald, CEO of the REALTORS® Association of Lake and Sumter, for insight and a deeper understanding of what to look out for, whether you’re a buyer or a seller. 

Current Market Trends

The real estate market in Lake and Sumter counties is thriving, surpassing expectations set by previous years. According to Steve, there has been a 26% increase in closed sales, a 21% increase in new listings and a 9% increase in average sale prices from 2022 to the end of 2023.

That’s nearly twice the 13.5% increase in home sales projected across the country by the National Association of REALTORS® for 2024.

“Our region has experienced a significant uptick in median sales, showcasing a thriving demand for properties in Lake and Sumter counties,” Steve says. “This surge is indicative of the area’s appeal and growing popularity among homebuyers.”

Currently, the region boasts a roughly three-month supply of inventory, making it a dynamic and competitive market for both buyers and sellers.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

For those taking their first steps into the real estate market, Steve advises finding a knowledgeable Realtor® and lender to reduce anxiety. Potential buyers should be prepared to discuss their credit score, loans and financial situation with a lender. 

“A lender and a Realtor® can help you establish a healthy price range for your home search, process details and guide you to closing,” Steve says.

Managing expectations, saving for a down payment and working through the process with a Realtor® are also essential steps for first-time homebuyers.

The increase we realize is from a healthy desire to live in Lake and Sumter counties. Our markets are outperforming others due to desirable location and faster job increases overall.

Left: Steve McDonald
CEO of the REALTORS® Association of Lake and Sumter

Right: Geoff Chernault
2024 President of the  REALTORS® Association of Lake and Sumter

What to look for in a Realtor®

Steve emphasizes that a Realtor® is bound by a Code of Ethics that requires they prioritize their clients’ best interests. Communication and attentiveness to homebuyers’ needs are vital in establishing a working relationship. 

“Work with someone that listens to your needs and is knowledgeable about the market,” he says. “Look for a Realtor® that is a strong negotiator. Realtors® that have designations and certifications behind their names demonstrate expertise, specialization and devotion to professional development.”

It is estimated that 75% of people would definitely work with the same agent again or recommend their agent to others.

Timing for Buying and Selling

The best time to buy or sell is today. Sellers can benefit from reaching out to a Realtor® for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to gauge market conditions accurately. And a Seller Net Sheet can help estimate the proceeds from closing. For buyers, it’s essential to discuss rates with a lender to make informed decisions.

Overlooked Considerations in Real Estate

Steve suggests checking into several factors often overlooked by buyers. These include ensuring the property disclosure is up to date, checking a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report, abstaining from major purchases during the loan process, getting a home inspection, inquiring about title insurance and consulting with an insurance agent before purchasing a home. Additionally, paying attention to performance dates in the contract is crucial for a successful transaction.

5,818 Closed Sales

5,818 Closed Sales

Paid in Cash 2,015

Median Sale Price $379,990

Average Sale Price $429,466

Dollar Volume $2.5 Billion

Median Percent of Original List Price Received 96.3%

Median Time to Contract 34 days

Median Time to Sale 76 days

6,255 New Pending Sales

6,255 New Pending Sales

7,232 New Listings

7,232 New Listings

657 Pending Inventory

657 Pending Inventory

1,568 Inventory (active listings)

1,568 Inventory (active listings)

3.2 Months Supply of Inventory

3.2 Months Supply of Inventory

Interesting Facts of the Current Market

According to Steve, one interesting aspect of the current local real estate market is the continued demand for housing despite the challenges in new construction. 

“The demand for housing continues to be encouraging,” Steve says. “The lack of new construction to satisfy that appetite is… interesting.”

Supply chain issues and labor shortages are affecting builders, but the presence of educational institutions like Lake Technical College and Lake-Sumter State College is helping bridge the gaps. However, inventories are on the rise and mortgage rates are becoming more realistic, while rents are stabilizing.

Why Real Estate Prices Continue to Rise

All things considered; housing prices are continually increasing in our counties. Steve says that the persistent rise in real estate prices can be attributed to the area’s prime location and the strong job market. 

“Location, location, location,” he says. “The increase we realize is from a healthy desire to live in Lake and Sumter Counties. Our markets are outperforming others due to desirable location and faster job increases overall.” 

In Florida alone, home prices have appreciated by an impressive 65.3% since the first quarter of 2020.  

Leave A Comment

About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

Share This Story!

Never miss an issue,  Sign up for the Style Newletter!