“It’s getting pricier,” said Robert Shiller, the Yale University economist who created the Case/Shiller Home Price Index and changed the way home prices are tracked.
While nowhere near the boom that preceded the bust in 2008, the price increases seem incongruent, Shiller suggested.
“We do see nationwide an increase in home prices and I don’t know if things are better. This boom has negative color to it,” said Shiller, expressing concern that bid wars often reflect a lack of available housing in the most-desirable neighborhoods.
The price trend is making housing less affordable for many Americans, who saw wages grow by just 2.6 percent since April 2014. The midpoint price for a home in the United States rose by almost 8 percent between March 2014 and March. In Florida, the price increase has been even steeper, with median home prices jumping 9.1 percent statewide and 17.2 percent in Manatee County during the same period.
The median selling price of a Manatee County home in March was $265,000. The median price nationwide was $212,000, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Some Manatee County homebuilders and developers have made moves to bring moderately priced homes to the area. In January, a division of D.R. Horton began building a 58-home subdivision in Oneco where selling prices are expected to start at less than $200,000. Other builders, including Lakewood Ranch-based Neal Communities, have sought to keep home prices low in some subdivisions by building attached villas. Neal is selling those homes for prices starting at about $212,000 in its Fairfield and future Villa Amalfi communities.
Leah Secondo, a real estate agent in Bradenton with Michael Saunders & Co., said lower-priced homes don’t stay on the market long. She’s sold six homes since January priced between $125,000 and $225,000. Four went to cash buyers.
“They understand that they can’t fool around and have to make serious offers,” she said.