Friday, September 21, 2018
Real Estate

If it’s a sellers’ market, why are so many Tampa Bay sellers cutting their prices?

Despite a shortage of available homes, many Tampa Bay sellers are getting a rude awakening when the sign goes up but no offers come in .

More sellers are being forced to drop their prices as the reality hits that buyers don’t love that funky tile or purple accent wall.

According to a new analysis by Zillow, two-thirds of the nation’s largest housing markets — including Tampa Bay — had more listings with price cuts than they did a year ago. In just the seven days ended Wednesday, prices were reduced on nearly 1,300 single- family homes in the four-county bay area — 11.5 percent of all listings. Many of those already had dropped in price and some are in especially hot markets like Tampa’s Seminole Heights and St. Petersburg’s Crescent Lake area.

The problem: Sellers assume that a hot market means they can get top dollar for their home.

"Everybody thinks their house is the greatest on the planet," says Judson Kidd, an agent with Southern Roots Realty in St. Petersburg. "But there is so much differentiation between one side of the street and the other, between one house and another."

One reason so many homes are overpriced is that so many real estate agents are competing for so few listings. In the past two years, more than 60,000 people have gotten Florida real estate licenses yet the supply of homes for sale is at its lowest level in more than a decade.

RELATED: Homes sales drop, price increases slow in most of Tampa Bay in July

MORE: Go here for more Business News

"A lot of agents will price where the seller wants just so they can stick a sign out front," Kidd says "Then maybe somebody from out of town will blow in and pay that ridiculous price."

Or maybe not.

"Overpriced homes stay on the market longer and sell for less than homes that are priced correctly to start," says Jennifer Zales, a Coldwell Banker agent in Tampa. "It is important to act quickly and consider a price reduction early in the listing period. The number of buyers viewing a new listing drops significantly after the first few weeks so don’t wait to take action."

Charles Richardson, Coldewell Banker’s senior regional vice president, analyzes market trends to help Zales and other Coldwell agents. He says he’s found "an amazing number" of price cuts at almost every level, whether it’s houses over $1 million or under $300,000.

In Hillsborough County in July, for example, more than half of all single- family homes for sale had undergone price "repositioning" in the past 60 days. Of houses listed between $150,000 and $300,000 — so much in demand there is only a two-month supply — 70 percent had dropped in price.

"You’d think that just because there are a lot more buyers than sellers, they’d be falling all over themselves to buy property, but until it’s price well, they will not,’’ Richardson says.

During the real estate bubble of 2000 to 2007, buyers snatched up homes at ever soaring prices on the assumption they would continue to appreciate in value. Of course that turned out to be wrong, and the 2008 financial crash sent prices plunging by half or more.

In early 2013, prices started to climb again and now have reached pre-crash levels or higher in some parts of Tampa Bay. This time, though, buyers are starting to push back.

"Venetian Isles is a prime example," Kidd says of the waterfront community in northeast St. Petersburg where prices have skyrocketed. "Sales have (almost) ground to a halt because of the price appreciation that is coming out of nowhere."

In the first six months of 2016, the median price of houses sold in Venetian Isles was $641,000. Not a single house went for more than $1 million. In the first six months of this year, the median price was $745,000 and four homes sold for more than $1 million.

Currently, 14 Venetian Isle houses are for sale, with six listed between $1 million and $4 million. More than half of the houses have had price reductions yet still haven’t sold.

Kidd recently worked with a buyer from California — no stranger to staggering home prices — who looked in Venetian Isles but decided that even the reduced prices were too high. He ended up paying $625,000 for an upgraded waterfront house in nearby Ponderosa Shores.

As a rule of thumb, Kidd’s firm suggests that sellers drop the price 10 percent if they haven’t gotten an offer in 15 days and 20 percent if there are no offers in a month.

"But you’d be surprised how much they are initially, ‘No, no, no, this house is worth it,’" he says.

Among the homes that tend to be priced the most unrealistically at the start are FSBOs — For Sale by Owner.

"If you follow them on Craiglist, you see a lot more price reductions than you do on listed properties," says Jack Keller, a veteran St. Petersburg agent. "For sale by owners don’t have the expertise of a Realtor guiding them on what their beginning price should be."

Even at a time when homes are in relatively scant supply, sellers need to remember that buyers are savvier than ever, real estate experts say. Through online sites like Zillow, Trulia and others, they can pretty well scope out a house without ever setting foot in it. They can also compare houses, prices and sales figures more easily than they could even a decade ago.

"With all the information on the internet, buyers are highly educated today," Richardson says. "They are not going to pay more than what the property really should be selling for."

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

   
Comments
The guys who brought you Tampa’s Armature Works plan high-end offices next door, and they’ve already signed a lease with med-tech company AxoGen

The guys who brought you Tampa’s Armature Works plan high-end offices next door, and they’ve already signed a lease with med-tech company AxoGen

TAMPA — Coming soon from the developers who brought you the Armature Works: Heights Union, two high-end office buildings next door to the trendy food hall, event space and co-working complex overlooking the Hillsborough River.Developers said Friday t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they can’t park on it

They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they can’t park on it

ST. PETERSBURG — One day in January, Dana Cremo was on her front porch hanging a vintage screen door when two city employees walked up. "You can’t park on your driveway," they said. "Why?" she asked. "Because somebody filed a complaint," they said. F...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

ST. PETERSBURG — When Shelley Broader worked in Tampa Bay, she was turning around a failing grocery store.It was the early 2000s. Amazon wasn’t a powerhouse yet, people were still on Myspace and no one was ordering groceries online. On Thursday, she ...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/21/18
Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Home sales in August hit their highest levels in a year in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as prices throughout the Tampa Bay area continued to rise. In Pinellas, sales of single-family homes jumped nearly 7 percent from the same month a year ago....
Published: 09/20/18
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Published: 09/19/18
Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Counter to the national trend, refinancings in the Tampa Bay area increased in the second quarter of this year. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, lenders originated 41 percent more refinancing loans in April, May and June than they did in the same p...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

SEMINOLE — There were so many unusual aspects to the sale of a certain Seminole villa that it’s hard to know where to begin. Is it with the fact the villa sold for $100,000 despite a cash offer of $128,700? Is it that the buyer was a Realtor in the s...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18
St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

ST. PETERSBURG — Mindy Grossman, the former HSN chief who now heads Weight Watchers International, has put her Beach Drive condo on the market at the hefty price of $3.95 million.The three-bedroom, three-and 1/2 bath unit on the 24th floor of Ovation...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/18/18
This $4.25 million bank-owned estate is the biggest waterfront property for sale in Tampa Bay

This $4.25 million bank-owned estate is the biggest waterfront property for sale in Tampa Bay

ST, PETERSBURG — For years it was Tampa Bay’s classiest party house, a spectacular waterfront estate that hosted many an event for charity. Now, it is the bay area’s priciest foreclosure for sale. U.S. Bank recently took back the mansion in St. Peter...
Published: 09/14/18