Sunday, February 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

Open-mic night at Pilars is a hot spot for Disney talent

WINTER GARDEN — At the end of the day, when the tourists are gone, Disney performers head out to their favorite spot to keep on singing after their shifts are over. Every Thursday, they perform at open-mic night at Pilars, a Winter Garden martini bar...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Gofundme.com pages proliferated almost as soon as cops took Nikolas Cruz into custody after Wednesday’s 17-death massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Donors must parse the funding pages from the fraudulent.Read More: 17 dead,...
Published: 02/18/18
Suffolk tops off Manor Riverwalk project

Suffolk tops off Manor Riverwalk project

Building contractor Suffolk topped off the north tower of its Manor Riverwalk project on Friday.The luxury rental community will replace the old Tampa Tribune building at 202 S Parker Street. Once complete, the project will include an eight-story wat...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

The Tampa arm of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau S.A. was cautiously optimistic Friday after the Trump administration took a big step toward a policy Gerdau has been vocally advocating for — higher tariffs on imported steel. "We’re hopeful that President...
Published: 02/16/18
Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Associated PressNEW YORK — Facebook is forging ahead with its messaging app for kids, despite child experts who have pressed the company to shut it down and others who question Facebook’s financial support of some advisers who approved of the app. Me...
Published: 02/16/18
Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Owners of affordable homes in the Tampa Bay region are seeing the biggest gains in equity among the nation’s top 20 housing markets. A bay area home now worth $110,000 rose 20 percent in value over the past year while a house now worth $337,400 incr...
Published: 02/16/18
Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

The anonymous letter described a possible love affair at the top of the local jobs center. President and CEO Edward Peachey was in a romantic relationship with top administrator Haley Loeun, it said.It described how Loeun was seen at a conference co...
Published: 02/16/18
Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill have become household names in casual dining. Now, their parent company, Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands is taking the "dining" part out in a concept that it’s bringing to Tampa Bay for the first time. A ne...
Published: 02/16/18
Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

If you bought or sold a house in Tampa Bay last year, you were a player in one of Florida’s hottest real estate markets.Even though prices eased a bit from their torrid pace in 2016, the median cost of a single family home shot up 11 percent. That’s ...
Published: 02/16/18
Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Every year, millions of people play the Florida Lotto. Their chances of winning are about as great as those of being struck by a comet. Fewer than 12,000 enter a much lesser known lottery that also is run by the state. Yet the odds of winning are vas...
Published: 02/16/18