Property sales in May 2010 in the Sarasota market once again hit the highest total since 2005 and median sale prices continued the steady pace observed in recent months. The 766 sales were the highest for the year, topping the April 2010 total of 757, and were the highest total since December 2005, and 51.3 percent higher than the May 2009 total of 506 sales.

Pending sales were once again strong, hitting 857, but were slower than April 2010. The March and April pending sales figures both topped 1,000, and reflected a last minute rush to beat the federal homebuyer tax credit deadline.

The median sale price for a single family home was also trending higher at $169,000, up 8.4 percent from last May's figure of $155,000. For the last 12 months combined, the median sale price for single family homes was $165,000. For condos, the median price was $184,500, slightly higher than last May's figure of $181,000, while the median sale price for condos over the last 12 months was $192,000.

The pace of sales quickened for single family homes, with the average days on market dropping to 168, from 195 days last May. For condos, the figure stood at 213 days, slightly higher than last May's figure of 203 days.

The level of sales of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) rose slightly in May 2010 to 40 percent of the overall market, from 38 percent in April 2010. The distressed market topped 48 percent in late 2009, so the overall trend remains downward - a good sign for a market returning to normal.

The property inventory level remained steady in May 2010 at 6,094, which is the lowest level since late summer of 2005. The months of inventory for single family homes in May 2010 dropped to 7.2 months, the number of months it would take to sell all available homes at the current pace. This was a significant drop from May 2009 - 14.3 months - and very near equilibrium. For condos, the figure fell to 9.7 months, much lower than last May's figure of 19.0 months. Once the market reaches the 6 month level it is considered to be in equilibrium between a buyers and sellers market.