Amy Worth was brought up in the industry and has spent her career in it

Amy Worth was 10 when her parents moved from Indiana to Sarasota to launch a real estate business.

After graduating from Riverview High School and the University of Florida, Worth accepted a "friendly push" and joined her parents in real estate. When they retired their business, she joined Re/Max Platinum Realty and has now been with the company for over two decades.

Worth is the 2019 president of the 6,500-member Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, and her goals include helping members be "professional, productive and profitable."

She was president of the Women's Council of Realtors Sarasota Chapter in 2006 and president of the council's Florida chapter in 2013. She holds the Graduate, Realtor Institute, the Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and the Transnational Referral Certification professional designations.

She recently answered some questions from the Herald-Tribune.

Q: You are a second-generation real estate professional. Tell us why you decided to follow your parents in the business.

A: I grew up in a real estate family and have a love and appreciation for the business that was cultivated from a young age. After graduating from the University of Florida in 1992 with a business degree, I moved home to Sarasota to pursue my dream of a real estate career in the place I love. I consider myself a native of Sarasota and am proud to share my knowledge and love of this beautiful area.

Q: The real estate market in the Sarasota-Manatee area has largely recovered from the Great Recession and its aftermath. Where do you see its strengths today and where might there still be some softness?

A: We’ve shown strength in overall sales for the two counties. While we’ve seen lower inventory levels, we’re not feeling the same impact as other areas in the nation. Sarasota and Manatee have been able to thrive in sales, even amid the tight inventory.

Q: Home prices have recovered as well, though still are below pre-recession levels. Price gains seem to be slowing lately. Why is that, and is it actually a good thing for the market?

A: Slow price gains may be an indication of our inventory catching up to the demand. Over the past few years, our area has experienced low supply levels coupled with a strong economy and strong consumer demand for property. If price gains continue to slow, it can be a good thing when working toward a more balanced market. A balanced market favors neither the seller nor the buyer.

Q: For some, rising costs have priced them out of home ownership. Affordable housing is an ongoing concern in the are. What is your advice for aspiring homeowners, in particular, younger ones, who want to buy?

A: Talk to a Realtor. Despite what many people think, a Realtor comes at no cost to a first-time home buyer. Using a Realtor will help save time and energy and prepare you to understand the industry you’re investing in. Also, many aspiring homeowners aren’t aware of the first-time home buyer programs, affordable housing funds and other options available to support them in their decision to purchase a home.

Both the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee and Florida Realtors advocate heavily at the state level to prevent the Legislature from sweeping the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund, which supports affordable housing programs.

Q: Interest rates on home mortgages have been increasing since last year. While Sarasota-Manatee still has a fair share of cash buyers, how have higher mortgage rates affected home sales and do you expect that to continue in 2019?

A: While we’ve seen some recent fluctuation in mortgage rates, we’re still far from reaching the historic highs. Whether rates are in the high teens or close to zero, the dream of homeownership is always constant. Consumers want to own a home and fulfill that American dream. That is why we advocate strongly for the use of a Realtor with the knowledge to adapt to different market conditions and deliver an ethical service to buyers and sellers.

It’s also not a certainty that interest rates will rise in 2019. There’s been talk of rising rates, but the Fed seems to have stepped back from that position. We’ve seen a recent decrease in mortgage rates between the end of the year and now.

Q: The recent downturn on the stock market has damaged investment portfolios. Will that affect local home sales this year? Will some potential buyers opt to wait a while until their portfolios recover?

A: When the stock market fluctuates, investors will turn to real estate to protect their investments. It’s more likely that investors will act now, rather than wait. However, the stock market is not the economy. Our economy is in a great position right now: The job market is secure and consumer confidence is strong.

Q: The share of international buyers of Florida real estate declined over the year, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors. How important are those buyers for local sales and do you see any signs of those sales rebounding this year?

A: Florida is still a top state for foreign-buyer sales and we don’t see that changing. While across the country we’ve seen a slight decline, we still anticipate our area and state to continue to see foreign-buyer growth due to our weather, culture, safety, security and, in many cases, political stability versus what many people are witnessing in their home countries.

Q: What are your goals as president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee in 2019? When your term is up, what would you like to say you achieved?

A: Our goals for the year include capturing more global business, helping members deliver brilliant service to their customers, building our professionalism, cultivating partnerships and being a powerful advocate for local real estate.

Realtors are the trusted voice for real estate in our two-county area and leaders in improving our local communities. At the end of the year, I hope to see an increase in consumer awareness. I want the public to understand the ethical and professional title that we call Realtor.