Make us your home page

In Pasco, location key to amount of home value drop

In southwest Pasco County's Beacon Square community, the housing decline is reflected in the roster of recent home sellers dumping properties for as little as $50,000: NovaStar Mortgage, Wachovia Bank, Bank of New York.

In Wesley Chapel's Seven Oaks community, on the edge of the bustling New Tampa suburbs, new-home sales are helping prop prices above $350,000. Bank foreclosure sales are comparatively scarce on the ground.

Since the housing boom ended in 2006, home prices have plunged 45 percent in Beacon Square, but only 9 percent in Seven Oaks. Beacon Square is the most depreciated community in Pasco County. Seven Oaks is the least.

"In central Pasco, you don't have as many people who bought investment properties. In west Pasco, there were an enormous number of people caught holding two houses when the housing downturn arrived,'' said Greg Armstrong, owner of Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey Residential and president of the West Pasco Board of Realtors.

In an analysis of 44,000 homes sales in 35 communities since 2005, not one area in Pasco escaped falling prices. From the peak in the first half of 2006 to the first half of 2008, prices fell off 34 percent across the board. Home sales were down 74 percent from the height of the boom. But not all neighborhoods took an equal beating.

The St. Petersburg Times discovered a gulf dividing west Pasco from east-central Pasco when it comes to housing sales prices. West Pasco communities fill the Top 10 list of the most-depreciated areas. Think Hudson, Holiday, Gulf Harbors and Shady Hills. East-central Pasco dominates the list of the least-depreciated areas. Think Zephyrhills, Dade City, Land O'Lakes and Quail Hollow.

Armstrong is unsurprised. Until 2006, he watched the Pasco coastal communities fall into the grip of a real estate fever.

As during the dot-com stock hunger of the 1990s, people borrowed against their houses to scoop up sure-thing investments. The older houses that cluster on both sides of U.S. 19 in west Pasco, many built cheaply for retirees in the 1960s and 1970s, became the main investment vehicles.

Take Holiday. Energized by furious flipping, the median home sales price peaked at $130,000 in early 2006. By the first half of this year, the median price had hunkered down at $75,000. That's a drop of 42 percent, one of the county's worst.

"It became investor heaven. Now it's turned into investor hell," Armstrong said. "People didn't want to be left out, but they got burned instead."

Central Pasco communities where investors ran rampant aren't exactly thriving, either. Meadow Pointe is a case in point. An island unto itself in the suburbs north of Tampa, Meadow Pointe has seen prices recede 32 percent. Even Land O'Lakes, nowhere near the worst afflicted, has seen home prices plunge by nearly a quarter.

Nearby Seven Oaks, off State Road 56, avoided much of Meadow Pointe's pain. Fewer entry-level homes there meant fewer fickle investors ready to bail at the first flicker of market trouble. Pricey sales of large homes have masked the handful of foreclosure sales.

"Most of our builders were good about not taking anybody who came along," said Terry McGinnis, marketing director for Seven Oaks developer Crown Community Development. "Everyone's gone down, but I think it's good that you can kind of hold your own.''

For those keen to wade into the west Pasco real estate morass, deals abound. In Beacon Square, Oldsmar investors Michael and Evelyn Otto recently snagged a 1,152-square-foot, 40-year-old house for $59,000 from Wachovia Bank. This in a community where a typical house sold for $133,400 just two years ago.

Michael Otto blames banks for the state of affairs. They should either have held the distressed properties, he said, or else helped owners avoid foreclosure. Huge property insurance premium hikes along the hurricane-prone coast didn't help the market either.

"They're selling the houses for $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000," Otto said. "We think they will go up in value. You just have to wait."

Top 10 least-affected areas
for home price declines
1. Seven Oaks -9 percent
2. Zephyrhills -16 percent
3. Dade City -18 percent
4. Moon Lake -19 percent
5. Trinity -19 percent
6. Odessa -22 percent
7. Dade City North -23 percent
8. Land O'Lakes -24 percent
9. Quail Hollow -24 percent
10. Tampa Bay Golf &Country Club -24 percent
Top 10 worst areas
for home price declines
1. Beacon Square -45 percent
2. Port Richey -45 percent
3. Golden Acres -43 percent
4. Holiday -42 percent
5. Shady Hills -38 percent
6. Seven Springs -35 percent
7. Elfers -35 percent
8. Gulf Harbors -35 percent
9. Jasmine Estates/Embassy Hills -34 percent
10. Hudson -33 percent

In Pasco, location key to amount of home value drop 08/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 28, 2008 4:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes, is proposing an end to public financing of campaigns. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  3. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  4. Plant City farmer hopes robot pickers can save strawberry industry from shrinking labor force


    PLANT CITY — If current trends continue, the region's status as a major strawberry producer will depend in large part on what happens in Mexico.

    Strawberry pickers work during the daytime, when fruit is more likely to bruise. Machine pickers can work at night. The owner of Wish Farms in Plant City is developing automated pickers and hopes to see them at work on a widespread basis in five years. [Times file]
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sells house for $3 million to new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman's multi-million Davis Islands home is staying in the Lightning family. Yzerman sold his 6,265-square-foot house Monday to new defenseman Dan Girardi for $3 million.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman sold for $3 million Monday to Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi. | [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]