Marc Rasmussen - Sarasota Realtor

Below is an article written July 20th, 2009 about Marc's sale at 1162 Horizon View Drive on Siesta Key. You can read the article here - Homes worth seven figures are starting to move again.

Homes worth seven figures are starting to move again

When it comes to Sarasota real estate, the lure of the beach has always been strong. As a result, homes that look out over stretches of white sand have always operated in something of their own unique universe.

But with the economy in the tank, even beachfront homes had been taking a hit.

But are they now making a comeback?

"It was pretty slow on the beach earlier this year, but there has been a real jump in activity just in the last month or two, in the last 30 days, especially," said Marc Rasmussen, an agent with Michael Saunders & Co. who just closed a beachfront deal last week.

A look at the nearly 30 beachfront homes for sale from Longboat Key down to Lido Key, Siesta Key and Casey Key shows that most of the homes that have sold or gone to contract recently have been under $3 million.

Since May, five beachfront homes have sold and about 10 are currently under contract. Four of the closed sales have been just in the past four weeks.

Sellers appear to be getting the message that value is paramount in the current market, and as a result they are more willing to reduce their asking prices or be flexible.

In some cases, buyers may be using the county's most recent appraisal as a touchstone for where the price should be.

For example, 160 Whittier Drive on Lido Key sold in May for $2.15 million. That price was down from the asking price of $2.5 million, but nearly identical to the county's most recent appraised value. The sale price was still more than double the $940,000 the seller had originally paid for the property in 1997.

Then there was 6601 Gulfside Drive, a 2,500-square-foot home on the north end of Longboat Key, which had a long journey to its final sale -- spending 337 days on the market. It had most recently been listed for $2.9 million, but finally sold June 23 for $2.1 million. That price was also nearly the same as the most recent county appraisal value.

The most recent sale of a beachfront home closed just last week.

On Tuesday, the 5,100-square-foot European-themed home at 1162 Horizon View Drive, along the southern end of Siesta Key, closed for $2.495 million. (The asking price had recently been reduced by $800,000).

Andy Reeves, the buyer, told the Herald-Tribune that he and his family had been looking for a vacation home for more than a year and a half -- looking in places as varied as Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.

"We specifically wanted beaches," Reeves said. "We searched for a long time."

The 49-year-old from Omaha, Neb., ultimately realized that Sarasota was where he and his family wanted to be -- and that the Siesta Key home, built to the new hurricane codes, seemed to be a perfect fit.

The price seemed to be right, as well.

"When we looked at the numbers, it was less per square foot than any other home on the beach over the last six months," said Reeves, who was represented by Rasmussen.

There was only one snag: Reeves had not actually seen the house himself. His wife had been down to take a look, but he had yet to do the same. Largely convinced he had found the right vacation home, though, Reeves said he made an offer contingent on seeing the house.

Thankfully, when he made the trip down to Siesta Key, the home was everything he had wanted. They made the deal.

Tuesday afternoon, the final paperwork was completed.

As for what the future holds for the housing market, Reeves said no one knows for sure where the bottom will be, but that he believed things were settling out, and that his new vacation home was something he planned to use for a long time.

"There is a chance this house could be worth less a few years from now, but I think there is a greater chance it will be worth more," he said. "If we're not at the bottom, we're pretty darn close."