Monday, December 11, 2017

Bond filing details funding for the Atlanta Braves spring training complex in Sarasota County

A $13.95 million bond issue will go to market this week to partially fund the Atlanta Braves spring training facility in North Port. The bonds, issued by the West Villages Improvement District, are the first of two planned debt offerings by the district to pay for the $99.7 million project, according to a Dec. 5 preliminary bond document. The document also details how the Braves and local governments will split the cost.

While public funding for professional sports stadiums is increasingly unpopular, a study in June showed the Braves' spring training facilities would have a $1.7 billion economic impact on the surrounding area over the 30-year term of its lease. Some critics say economic studies are overblown because they assume those dollars wouldn’t have been spent on other local events and venues.

The first bond issue from West Villages Improvement District will sell this week, a Dec. 7 report from Moody’s Investors Services said. Moody's rated the bonds Aa2, a high investment grade rating. A dedicated sales tax revenue pledge from the state of Florida backs the bonds, and “the strength of the pledged revenue stream is balanced against relatively weak legal provisions, including a lack of a debt service reserve fund,” Moody’s said.

The outlook for the bonds is stable.

Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Venice Historic Tours Available

Ever wondered about the history of various buildings and sites in Venice? If so, there are some tours that might just be of interest to you.

Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Venice
Next Date: 12/09/2017, 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Location: Michael Biehl Park, 100 Tampa Ave W, Venice, FL 34285, USA

Guided walking tour in Downtown Venice. On the tour, they will give you background on the history of Venice and various buildings. The walk is approximately 1 mile and takes 1 1/2 hours. For more detail, visit Price is $15 per person. Reservations Required. To sign up, email or call Tiffany at 817-793-8433.


1927 Historic Train Depot Tours
Next Date: 12/09/2017 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10 am - 3 pm (November 1 - May 31)
Saturdays 10 am - 1 pm (year-round)

Location: 303 E Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285

FREE docent-led tours of 1927 Train Depot

Check them out!

Ali H. Johnston, MHA, MBA in Real Estate
Realtor®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
Office: 941-460-3179

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Venice Tree Lighting this Saturday

Holiday Tree Lighting
Date: 12/09/2017, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: West Blalock Park, 401-499 Pensacola Rd, Venice, FL 34285, USA

Formal lighting event is 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 in West Blalock Park, across from the Triangle Inn (Venice Museum & Archives). The park will be lighted nightly through Jan. 1, 2018, dusk until 10 p.m. Christmas tree lighting with Mayor John Holic

Presented by Venice Beautification Inc.
For more information, email

Christmas Movie in the Park at Centennial Park from 7p-9p, too!!!

Have fun,

Ali H. Johnston, MHA, MBA in Real Estate
Realtor®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
Office: 941-460-3179

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

North Port in Top 10 Digital Cities

City Listed Among Top 10 in the 2017 Digital Cities Survey

The City of North Port placed among the top 10 cities for its population category in the "Center for Digital Government’s National 2017 Digital Cities Survey." Now in its 17th year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement. The City of North Port placed ninth in its population category of 75,000 or below.

“This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect disadvantaged citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of these innovative cities, citizens can now meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history. Congratulations to the winners!”

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. CDG is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education. The survey honors cities in five population classifications: 500,000 or more, 250,000 to 499,999; 125,000 to 249,999; 75,000 to 124,999 and fewer than 75,000.

This is the sixth year that the City has been recognized in the top 10 for its population size. The City of North Port is working continuously to implement new technology to further connect and engage residents in their local government. The City offers a mobile application for residents to report concerns, a robust social media communication strategy, several GIS-based interactive maps, and more.

The top-10 ranked cities will be honored at an awards ceremony during the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Charlotte, N.C. on November 16th

Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964
West Villages Realty LLC
19503 S West Villages Pkwy
Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
Venice, Florida 34293
Office: 941-460-3179

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sarasota Herald-Tribune Reports Builders Hire 8% More In The Area


Southwest Florida’s labor-parched construction industry added 2,100 jobs in October, an 8% growth rate that was one of the best in the state. The Sarasota-Manatee and Charlotte County metro areas were among 243 out of 358 nationwide where construction employment rose over the year, the Associated General Contractors of America reported Wednesday. Construction employment increased by 1,700 jobs, or 8 percent, last month in Sarasota-Manatee, while Charlotte County added 400 jobs for a jump of 10 percent.
Charlotte ranked 27th nationwide for percentage growth while Sarasota-Manatee came in at 54th. A total of 28,800 workers were counted in the construction trades in the three counties, the contractors’ group said. The combined 8% increase tied for sixth highest among the state’s 23 metro regions.
Florida ranked seventh in the U.S. with 7.4 percent growth in construction employment, adding 35,800 jobs.
Nationwide, construction employment grew by 2.8 percent, or 187,000 jobs, over the year, the trade organization said. “Growing demand, especially from the private sector, is continuing to drive construction employment gains in many parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The tax reform proposals now being debated in Washington can do even more to help ensure that metro areas will continue to add new construction jobs.”
The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region posted the state’s highest number of job gains with 5,400 over the year. Cape Coral-Fort Myers recorded the state’s only decline, down 1,900 jobs, or 7 percent, AGC said.
The construction workforce in Sarasota-Manatee peaked at 31,800 in April 2006 but plunged to 14,900 in 2011 during the economic downturn, when projects stalled and building all but ceased, forcing workers to find other ways to earn a living.
Even with a steadily rising labor force, residential and commercial builders here say they still struggle to find enough workers for their projects. The labor shortage has affected construction in the area for some time, slowing some large-scale developments by months. Many of the subcontractors who perform most of the labor at constructions sites — from carpenters to plumbers to drywall installers — say they cannot find the manpower to handle the surge of homes, condominiums, apartments, hotels and retail projects under way or planned.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

U.S. home sales surge as inventory plunges

Sarasota Herald Tribune

Americans bought new homes in October at the fastest pace in a decade — a 6.2 percent monthly increase that reflects both the underlying strength of the economy and the worsening shortage of existing homes for sale.
The Commerce Department said Monday that new-home sales last month rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000. That marks the third straight monthly gain and the best sales clip since October 2007. Much of the sales growth came from the Northeast and Midwest, with the South and West posting smaller increases.
According to the October 2017 housing data released last week by the Florida Realtors organization, sales, median prices, new listings and new pending sales rose even as the inventory of for-sale properties remained constrained in many areas. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,543 last month, up 2 percent compared to October 2016.
Across the country, the number of sales listings for existing homes tumbled 10.4 percent from a year earlier to just 1.8 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s the fewest number of homes on the market for any October since the Realtors began tracking the data in 1999.
New construction can only offset some of this supply crunch.
There is only 4.9 months’ supply of newly-built homes on the market, the lowest reading since July 2016.
In the Sunshine State, October’s for-sale inventory remained tight with a 3.8-months’ supply for single-family homes and a 5.6-months’ supply for condo-townhouse properties, according to Florida Realtors.
Locally, inventory for single family homes in Manatee County increased by 3.3 percent from last year, while Sarasota decreased by 4.4 percent. Condo inventory improved with a 2.9 percent increase in Sarasota and 0.7 percent increase in Manatee.
The month’s supply of inventory is indicated by the number of months it will take to deplete the current inventory, given the recent sales rates. For Sarasota County, condos are at a 4.9 month supply and single family homes are at a 3.9 months supply. In Manatee County, condos are a 4.1 month supply, while single family homes sit at 4.2 months.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

North Port takes steps to split West Villages from Venice zip code

Sarasota Herald Tribune - Nov 13,2017
NORTH PORT — In hopes of having the question settled before the 2020 census, North Port city commissioners on Monday took the first of several steps that could lead to the West Villages area having its zip code affiliated with the city and not with Venice.
First, the commission directed City Manager Peter Lear to provide an update to the U.S. Postal Service on the current and future development of the West Villages and to ask about the agency’s plans for additional zip codes for the area.
Next, the commission agreed to host a town hall meeting in the West Villages on the relationship between the development district and the city; and finally, it directed city staff to increase outreach efforts to highlight for West Villages residents the services and activities North Port offers.
None of that received a warm welcome by West Villages residents in the crowd — most of whom live in either Island Walk or Gran Paradiso and who bought their homes partly because of the cache of a Venice zip code, regardless of where they pay property taxes.
Nor were they particularly pleased with City Commissioner Debbie McDowell who — after she explained that the property appraiser told her that comparable sales values and nearby amenities impacted home values, but zip codes do not — said they were duped by their seller, if they thought they were buying into Venice.
“It sounds like North Port has an inferiority complex,” said Ruth Thurber, a Gran Paradiso resident who previously lived in Port Charlotte and Lakewood Ranch. “My husband and I wanted to be in Venice. We know we’re paying taxes in North port and not Venice.
“Please don’t insult us and say we were duped; we’re intelligent people, we know where we bought,” she added. “We know what our property values are in Venice address as well as the North Port address.”
Michael Sepot followed by saying the property appraiser doesn’t have a clue about the real estate market“You’ll never find a bank who would use a city appraiser for any mortgage,” said Sepot, who later added, “perception is reality for the people who have that perception.”
Read more - Link to Article  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Home prices in Sarasota-Manatee continue to climb

Home prices in Sarasota-Manatee continue to climb

Home prices in the Sarasota-Manatee region failed to keep pace with the state and national averages in September but still climbed over the year.
Single-family home prices rose 3.8 percent over the year in the two-county area, data provider CoreLogic reported Tuesday. That slipped behind increases of 6.2 percent in Florida and 7.0 percent in the U.S., CoreLogic said.
Prices jumped a more robust 7.6 percent in Charlotte County.
Charlotte ranked 84th and Sarasota-Manatee 256th for home-price appreciation among the 402 metro areas covered in the report.
Florida price gains ranked 16th in the nation. But home values in the state remain about 18 percent off their pre-recession peak.
“Heading into the fall, home price growth continues to grow at a brisk pace,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “This appreciation reflects the low for-sale inventory that is holding back sales and pushing up prices. The CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index rose about 3 percent over the last year, less than half the rise in the national Home Price Index.”
Prices in Florida are expected to lift 6.9 percent in the coming 12 months, higher than the 4.7 percent U.S. forecast, CoreLogic said.


SARASOTA / BRADENTON HOUSING 3Q17: Hurricane Irma Impact is Limited as Quarterly New Home Starts are at Post-Recession Highs

  • Quarterly New Home Starts are up 3.4% YoY while Annual Starts are down 0.4% from 3Q16 levels
  • Affordability is getting squeezed in the lower price points as new home starts under $250k are down 20% YoY.
  • Despite Hurricane Irma, quarterly starts were the best we have seen post-recession. Sarasota-Bradenton is now building about 120% of the twenty year moving average. Irma may push some closings into 2018, but she did not materially impact our forecast for increasing housing starts in 2018 for Sarasota.