Sales and median prices of existing homes in the Tampa Bay area rose last month after dropping in July, continuing a teeter-totter pattern that has persisted for months.
The median price of single-family homes in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties rose 4 percent in August to $129,900, according to My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service data. The figures include conventional, foreclosure and short sales. The median price in August 2010 was $141,100.
Total sales rose from 2,324 in July to 2,392 in August. The August sales total represents a 23 percent increase from August 2010.
When will prices and sales totals show consistent strength?
Not any time soon, said Tina Shank, an agent with RE/Max Realtec Group in Palm Harbor. She predicted that prices will gradually drop for 18 to 24 more months. Home sellers will be affected, but the price drop won't be as drastic, she added.
"It is going to be hard for people to sell their house and get the prices they want," Shank said.
Rae Catanese of Tropical Prudential Realty in South Tampa believes the market is improving since median prices rose from $109,155 in January to $129,250 in June. She cautioned the market cannot be accurately measured in one-month spurts.
"I think it's pretty stable," she said. "I think we've leveled off at least in South Tampa."
The median price of conventional home sales jumped 6 percent — $160,250 to $170,000 — from July to August in the three counties. In August 2010, the median price of a conventional sale was $179,945.
Foreclosure sales rose from 562 in July to 581 in August, down from the peak of 975 in March.
The median price of foreclosure sales rose from $70,600 in July to $75,000 in August. Sales figures do not include Hernando and Citrus counties because Realtors in the two counties report data to another MLS board.