Make us your home page

Hernando County home sales up, median price down

Home sales in Hernando County rose 28 percent in February compared to a year ago.

For some, the news raised hopes that the worst may be over for a ravaged real estate market. The increase was slightly better than the increase of 23 percent for the entire Tampa Bay area, which was the largest year-to-year jump since September 2005.

"If we're not at the bottom, my sense is that we're going to be seeing it within the next quarter or so," said Brooksville Realtor Gary Schraut. "When you see a home that sold for $185,000 go to $85,000, I'm just not sure how much lower homes can go."

That's the challenge now. Though more houses are changing hands, it's at bargain-basement prices.

Of the Hernando County homes sold so far during 2009, 50 percent were bank-owned and nearly 10 percent were short sales.

"Prices are going down, so people are buying," said Joshua Hanoud, Realtor-associate with Tropic Shores Realty. "But they are only buying stuff that's priced really, really well."

The median sale price for homes was $97,000 in February, a 44 percent decrease since February 2006.

For people seeking a home to live in, prices and interest rates are low, and many properties are available. But experts say it's no market for those in search of a quick profit.

First-time home buyers have the added incentive of an $8,000 federal tax credit.

"It's the perfect time to enter or re-enter the market and buy real estate," said Marilyn Pearson-Adams, president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors.

Across the county, real estate companies report business is picking up after a dismal winter.

"I have been getting more calls on the inventory homes," said Chris Glover of Palmwood Realty Inc. "People are starting to realize that the prices are phenomenal."

Schraut's office has also been seeing more activity.

"We're having closings," he said. "That's a first step."

Others worry the market might not have hit bottom yet.

Nationally, millions of home­owners hold adjustable-rate mortgages that will reset at higher rates between now and 2013, Hanoud said.

"(Many of) those people aren't going to be able to refinance, either, or come up with another $400, $500 or $600 a month," he said.

"It doesn't mean it's not a great time to buy," Hanoud added, "as long as you are planning to do it long term."

Vladimir Hucko, a real estate agent with Re/Max Advantage in Spring Hill, is also skeptical about the turnaround. For Hernando County residents with limited resources, he said, home prices are still too high.

"Taxes and insurance can be as much as a mortgage for some people," Hucko said. "Whatever break you are going to get from your bank, State Farm is going to get in your other pocket."

Hanoud of Tropic Shores Realty said it's essential that clients price their homes right.

"We got nine offers on a house the other day," he said, "because it was priced right. Even $10,000 can make a difference."

By the numbers

Single-family home sales, year-to-year comparison for February

Year Sales
2009 149
2008 116
2007 129
2006 216

Single-family home median sale price, year-to-year for February

Year Price
2009 $ 97,000
2008 $134,900
2007 $155,000
2006 $173,700

Source: Hernando County Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service

Hernando County home sales up, median price down 03/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 8:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  2. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]
  3. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  4. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]