Home prices surged in Pasco and Hernando counties in November, but sales were sluggish throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Only Pasco saw an increase in the number of single-family homes sold — up 4.9 percent compared to November a year ago. Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando all showed decreases.
The figures reflect what one expert calls the "pitiful supply’’ of homes for sale and could bode poorly for the nation’s real estate markets if inventory shortages continue.
"The trifecta of faster economic expansion, robust hiring and low mortgage rates should be generating a surge in optimism and homes sales as 2017 winds down,’’ said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. "Sadly, this is not the case. While overall demand is high, it is not translating to meaningful sales gains.’’
In November, year-over-year sales of single family homes dropped 5.7 percent in Pinellas, 2.3 percent in Hernando and 1.6 percent in Hillsborough. While some of that could be attributed to the residual effects of Hurricane Irma in September, all but Hernando had fewer homes for sale in November than they did at the same time a year ago.
"Until we start seeing a steady increase in new and existing inventory,’’ Yun said, "sales will fail to deliver on their full potential and many first-time buyers will be forced to continue renting.’’
The meager supply of available homes has continued to drive up prices in the Tampa Bay area though generally at slower rate than early in the year.
Pasco showed its biggest price gain since January — up an impressive 16.4 percent to a median of $218,000 for a single family home. That was followed by Hernando, up 14 percent to $160,000; Hillsborough, up 6.5 percent to a median of $239,558 and Pinellas, up 6 percent to a median of $233,000.
The top price paid for a home locally in November was $2.25 million for a penthouse in the Mandalay Beach Club on Clearwater Beach. Built in 2002, the 3,500-square-foot condo with four bedrooms and three full baths overlooking the Gulf of Mexico sold for $170,000 less than its asking price.
Pasco’s priciest sale was $895,000 for an equestrian estate on 3.6 acres with access to more than 8,000 acres of conservation areas. The property in New Port Richey includes a barn with four horse stalls, wash station and living quarters.
Hillsborough’s top price was $2 million for a 5,295-square-foot home on a canal in Tampa’s Stoney Point area. And in Hernando’s Weeki Wachee, a buyer paid $642,000 for a six-bedroom home plus a three-bedroom guest house on two acres.
Statewide, sales of single family homes in November rose just 1.3 percent from a year earlier while the median price climbed 9 percent to $240,000.
Nationally, sales of all types of existing homes — houses, condos and townhomes — rose 3.8 percent with the median price up 5.8 percent to $248,000. November’s price increase marks the 69th straight month of year-over-year gains.
On a less positive note, the housing supply nationwide sank to the lowest level since before the Great Recession.
"This will make it more difficult to find a home, particularly for first-time home buyers who face the most acute inventory shortage,’’ said Joseph Kirchner, senior economist for realtor.com
--- Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate