Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Business

Florida home sales, prices rise, continuing rebound

Florida homes sold quicker, more often and for higher prices last month than in March 2012, as tight supplies and investor zeal helped the market to revive, state Realtors data show.

Florida's median home prices last month bested the year before for the 15th month in a row, climbing 15 percent to $160,000, data show. Sales climbed 9 percent over March 2012, with nearly half of the 20,000 closings paid in cash.

Tight inventories continue to turn the market's screws, squeezing newly emboldened buyers into shrinking supplies. If no more homes were added, the state's inventory would sell in five months, below the six-month supply commonly considered healthy.

Bidding wars, often between prospective buyers and speculative investors, helped trim the typical home's days on the market to less than two months while bumping prices higher.

But economists said Florida sellers remain skittish after years of housing gloom. While new pending sales across the state climbed 23 percent over the last year, new listings only grew 3 percent.

"Inventory remains an issue, but this is fast becoming a sellers' market," state Realtors chief economist John Tuccillo said. "As sellers realize this, we expect inventories to rise."

More Tampa Bay homes sold last month than have in nearly seven years, the Tampa Bay Times reported April 12. The typical home's price soared 22 percent since March 2012, to $150,000, My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service data show.

South Florida was the only metro area in the state last month to beat out Tampa Bay's sales boom. In the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach market, nearly 3,500 homes sold at a typical price of $240,000.

Home sales nationwide rose 10 percent last month over March 2012, the 21st month in a row of year-over-year gains. The typical home sold for $184,300, up 12 percent over the year before.

The number of U.S. homes for sale grew for the second month in a row, a sign that timid sellers are leaving their shell. And across Tampa Bay, builders have broken ground on long-frozen subdivisions, injecting new homes into the supply.

Real estate agents are scouting for new sellers by touting the market's demand and drastically low interest rates. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.41 percent last week, down from 3.9 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac data show.

But potential threats to a full-speed recovery remain. Many potential buyers said they are being turned away by stringent loan standards. And much of the local buying is being done by cash-wealthy investors, whose short-term shopping sprees could cause prices to balloon.

"We need to correct the imbalance between investors and owner-occupier households," Tuccillo said, "if the market is to prosper for a long time."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or [email protected]

Comments
Past mistakes hamper Clearwater’s effort to revive downtown business incentives

Past mistakes hamper Clearwater’s effort to revive downtown business incentives

CLEARWATER — One year after the city’s boldest incentive program yet failed to secure a single business deal for downtown and caused confusion among applicants, the guidelines are being scrapped and rewritten to leave less room for misinterpretation....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tired of fast food? Maybe there’ll be an Armature Works-like hall in Trinity

Tired of fast food? Maybe there’ll be an Armature Works-like hall in Trinity

TRINITY — New Jersey-based M&M Realty Partners has a contract to develop the remaining 300 acres of the Mitchell 54 West project at State Road 54 and Little Road.Land owner Dewey Mitchell shared the information July 11 with a North Tampa Bay Chamber ...
Published: 07/18/18
Pinellas County Commission shows support for CrossBay Ferry

Pinellas County Commission shows support for CrossBay Ferry

CLEARWATER –– The ferry that once linked St. Petersburg and Tampa downtowns took one step closer to returning in November.While the Pinellas County Commission didn’t approve spending money to help pay for the CrossBay Ferry during a meeting Tuesday, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Louisiana shipbuilder hopes to bring 1,000 jobs to Tampa shipyard through Coast Guard icebreaker program

Louisiana shipbuilder hopes to bring 1,000 jobs to Tampa shipyard through Coast Guard icebreaker program

TAMPA — Tampa Ship could welcome more than 1,000 new shipbuilding jobs if Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards wins a major contract to build up to six Coast Guard polar icebreakers.Bollinger could start staffing up at Tampa Ship, which has 62 acres a...
Published: 07/17/18
Robert Traurig, who helped build one of the world’s largest law firms, dies at 93

Robert Traurig, who helped build one of the world’s largest law firms, dies at 93

Robert Traurig helped build one of the largest law firms in the world and, in so doing, swept Miami-Dade County upward.Brickell Avenue skyscrapers. Open-air malls like Cocowalk in Coconut Grove. Residential communities on the edge of the Everglades. ...
Published: 07/17/18
Hard Rock announces new hotel in Ireland in 2020

Hard Rock announces new hotel in Ireland in 2020

Hard Rock International is expanding across the pond. The Seminole Tribe-owned casino and hotel chain announced Tuesday that it will open a Hard Rock Hotel Dublin in 2020, its first hotel in Ireland. It will partner with Irish hotel company Tifco Lim...
Published: 07/17/18
New Spring Hill funeral home offers dining, catering services for grieving families

New Spring Hill funeral home offers dining, catering services for grieving families

SPRING HILL — A new funeral home, in response to changing mores, is focused on serving the living, providing homelike conviviality and social amenities that reach beyond attention to death.Yvette and Jim Klausch, licensed funeral directors with 40 ye...
Published: 07/17/18
Want to live on Beeswax Lane? Tampa Bay developers strain to create new street names

Want to live on Beeswax Lane? Tampa Bay developers strain to create new street names

When Newland Communities began developing FishHawk Ranch in Hillsborough County two decades ago, naming streets wasn’t much of a problem."Literally, we would get out our list of Florida native bird names every time a new section came online," said Pa...
Published: 07/17/18
Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

In most places across America, nursing homes are facing an acute shortage of workers to take care of the country’s growing population of aging and disabled patients. But not in Florida. A Kaiser Family Foundation report published this month found tha...
Published: 07/17/18
Blacks can afford far fewer rentals than Asians and whites, study shows

Blacks can afford far fewer rentals than Asians and whites, study shows

Black and Latino residents of the Tampa Bay area can afford far fewer rentals than Asians and whites can. According to Zillow, blacks can afford just 19 percent of available rentals and Latinos 20.7 percent. That compares to whites being able to affo...
Published: 07/17/18