Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

Here are Tampa Bay's 25 priciest homes of 2016

Tampa Bay's luxury market roared back to life in 2016 as an improving economy drove sales of high-end homes to a level not seen in years.

Of the 25 most expensive houses and condos sold last year, eight went for more than $6 million. In 2015, there wasn't a single sale higher than $4.9 million.

To be in the Top 25 last year, a house had to sell for at least $3.7 million. In 2015, a home that brought "only'' $2.65 million made the cut.

Though most home buyers will never be able to afford anything close to those prices, they reflect the appeal of an increasingly dynamic area that has much to offer residents of different ages, interests and backgrounds.

"Our area has become so much more vibrant,'' said Dania Perry, a Pinellas County Realtor who was involved in three of the Top 25 sales. "In our favor we have a very growing, vibrant downtown (St. Petersburg) and our beaches are just phenomenal. We have a lot of new construction along the beaches and improvement to our beach fronts.''

Last year, Tampa Bay had nearly three times as many $6-million-plus sales as Sarasota even though that county has long been considered much more of a luxury market. The bay area, however, boasts sizable advantages over its neighbors to the south, noted Realtor Jennifer Zales.

"Tampa has an international airport, corporate businesses and professional sports teams based here, which added to the buyer pool,'' said Zales, listing agent for two of the Top 25 homes last year. "Having some of the best and most affordable waterfront in a market convenient to an airport with international connections makes the Tampa Bay area very attractive to affluent buyers.''

As in 2015, several buyers of the most expensive homes in 2016 make their living from the nation's mammoth health are industry. Others have prospered in tech fields, insurance and employment services. High-end buyers in 2016 also included a star Tampa Bay Lightning player, the 26-year-old grandson of Publix supermarkets founder George Jenkins, and an Orlando man who spent time in federal prison for bribing a Jacksonville port director.

Other noteworthy nuggets about 2016's uber-luxury sales:

• Of the 25 buyers, 19 paid cash. In 2015, there were just nine cash buyers.

• Only two condos — both in downtown St. Petersburg's Ovation — were among the top 25 priciest homes sold last year. In 2015, five condos made the list.

• Once again, Tampa's waterfront Davis Islands had the most sales in the Top 25 with four. Among other areas with two or more sales were Tampa's Culbreath Isles, Belleair Shore in mid-Pinellas County, St. Pete Beach and St. Petersburg's Snell Isle.

Realtor Bonnie Strickland, the listing agent on two Snell Isle homes in the Top 25, sees no slow-down in the bay area's luxury market despite rising interest rates and uncertainty over how President Donald J. Trump's polices might affect the financial and housing markets.

"'I've had the busiest January I've ever had in my life,'' said Strickland. a St. Petersburg native who's been in real estate for 30 years. "I think the Fed raising rates just a bit is getting people off the fence and thinking about buying now because they don't want to miss the opportunity.''

And do people who can afford a $4 million home really worry about a quarter- or half-point rise in rates?

"They're just like everybody else,'' Strickland said. "They like to take advantage of a lower rate.''

Times researchers John Martin and Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

     
                       
Comments
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Published: 12/15/17
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Published: 12/15/17
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Published: 12/14/17