Make us your home page
Instagram

Home sales stabilize as prices drop to 2004 levels

The Tampa Bay area's median home price has returned to what it was in December 2004, but those discounts helped keep home sales from falling further in August.

Single-family home sales in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Hernando totaled 2,154 in August, identical to the number of sales in August 2007, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

This marked the fourth straight month that local sales were flat, or fell or rose slightly, suggesting the market has flattened.

Low prices have been decisive. Tampa's median home price stood at $171,200 in August, 20 percent below the $214,100 median price in August 2007. Realtors say distressed sales — sales of properties behind on monthly payments — make up at least a quarter of the traffic. Many are short sales in which banks allow homeowners to sell their house for less than the outstanding mortgage balance.

"I looked at 30 properties for a client wanting a house for $150,000, and all but two were short sales or bank-owned properties," said St. Petersburg Realtor James Tuten of Charles Rutenberg Realty.

In Florida as a whole, sales were down 4 percent in August vs. a year earlier. Business was way up year over year in Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and Fort Pierce. Even sales in Miami shot up 22 percent, reflecting a 30 percent price decline.

But the slump seems to be intensifying across Florida Panhandle cities previously buffered from housing pain. Panama City sales were down 29 percent, Pensacola's were down 31 percent and Tallahassee's dropped 42 percent.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, predicted stable home sales would eventually spur prices higher. But he didn't predict when that would happen, and many economist say foreclosures will continue to suppress prices through 2010.

"Home prices generally follow sales trends after a few months of lag time. Still, inventory remains high in many parts of the country and will require time to fully absorb," Yun said. "We expect more balanced conditions in 2009 and will eventually return to normal, long-term appreciation patterns."

>>Fast Facts

Home sales

Changes from August 2007 to August 2008:

Fort Myers: up 32 percent

West Palm Beach: up 10 percent

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: flat

Jacksonville: down 18 percent

Lakeland: down 20 percent

Sarasota-Bradenton: down 29 percent

Source: Florida Association of Realtors

Home sales stabilize as prices drop to 2004 levels 09/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 26, 2008 12:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  2. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  3. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  4. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  5. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags

    Autos

    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]