22 June 2016

Prices for Tampa Bay homes climbed again in May, but are there signs of a slow down?

Original Story: tampabay.com

Prices for Tampa Bay homes continued to increase in May, with three of the four bay area counties showing double-digit gains. A Builder Custom Homes Tampa may be a good fit for you.

The year-over-year median price of a single-family home in Hillsborough jumped 10 percent to $224,500, higher than the state average. In Pasco, the median rose 12.8 percent, to $176,000, and in Hernando, it rocketed 19 percent to $138,000.

But for the bay area's two biggest counties, the increases are not nearly as dramatic as they were early in the year.

"I think it's kind of stabilized,'' Tampa Realtor Rebecca Schmid said of the bay area real estate market. "I don't see it going down but I don't see it going up at this point.''

In Pinellas, the median sale price in May rose 8.1 percent, a healthy gain but the smallest year-over-year increase since November. The county's median price of $200,000 has remained constant since March.

Hillsborough had its second lowest price gain since October.

On a more positive note, both counties showed their biggest increases in months in the number of closed sales — Hillsborough's 14.4 percent jump was its highest since July and Pinellas' 9.4 percent was the highest since September.

Both did better than the state overall, which tallied a 4.5 percent year-over- year increase in single family homes sales.

"Florida's housing market is growing at a more moderate pace," Matey H. Veissi, president of Florida Realtors, said Wednesday. But, he added, "while tight housing supply is having an impact in many areas, still-low mortgage rates, increased jobs and economic growth will continue to boost housing demand."

The top price paid for a home in Hillsborough in May was $2.6 million cash for a newly built, 5,300 square foot waterfront home in Tampa's Sunset Park. Custom Homes in Tampa are beautiful and come in variety of  price ranges.

Sales are doing well, "especially on the waterfront in South Tampa,'' said Schmid, who had the listing on the home. "There's just that limited amount of lots and homes available so older homes are being bought up and torn down so there's all this new construction.''

One reason new homes are hot, she added, is that high-end buyers "definitely want all the bells and whistles. The (house that was) there originally had never been updated so I think for somebody it was a good call to tear it down."

In Pinellas, where a penthouse in downtown St. Petersburg's Ovation sold for a record $6.9 million cash in May, agent Rafal Wazio says really expensive properties are doing well while those in the $2.5 million to $3 million range are lagging.

"I'm seeing large estates that normally take five or six years to sell go under contract because their day has come,'' said Wazio, who has a Belleair estate listed at $8.5 million under contract.

Who can afford these places?

"I think in a lot of instances you're looking at people cashing out of large companies, kind of golden parachute deals,'' he said. "Now they are seeing a property they couldn't necessarily go after two or three years ago but always wanted it. It's a perfect combination of money meets opportunity."

For all other buyers, including those who might be able to afford a lower-priced luxury home, "there remains a certain amount of uncertainty as to interest rates and the economy,'' Wazio said. "In the $350,000 to $400,000 range, those were rip-roaring along from January to about two months ago and now I see some stagnancy there as well."

Buyers of higher-end properties seem to be holding back in Pasco, which earlier in the year had several sales over $1 million. The most expensive Pasco home sold in May was a 5,600 square foot lakefront house in Odessa that went for $750,000 — a substantial discount from its original asking price of nearly $825,000.

In Hernando, though, a buyer paid $900,000 — $60,000 above asking price — for a custom three bedroom, three bath home on 66 acres in Brooksville.

In the four-county Tampa Bay area, sales of condos and townhomes rose 4.2 percent in May with the year-over-year increase in prices jumping 6.3 percent to $129,900.

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