Make us your home page
Instagram

'Short sales' shift local home sales figures

The latest home sales figures showed an interesting anomaly: While prices continue to plummet, the home sales decline in the Tampa Bay area was less than half the state average.

What seems to be swaying the market is a rash of short sales, the practice of dumping a home on the market for less than the outstanding loan balance. Realtors says short sales contribute not just to the region's better-than-average sales, but to its worse-than-average price declines.

"I've got 70 or 80 short sale listings now. Maybe more. Twenty percent of them have multiple offers," said Craig Beggins of Century 21 Beggins Enterprises in southeast Hillsborough.

Jim Knetsch of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Carrollwood said, "Some of the best bargains right now are short sales. In many of the communities in central Pasco, I'm guessing half the properties or more are truly in short sale territory."

Existing home sales in Florida slipped 26 percent in March over the same month a year earlier, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. It said 9,142 homes were sold last month, compared with 12,356 in March 2007. State home prices were off 15 percent during the same period, from $242,800 to $205,600.

By comparison, the Tampa metro area reported an 11 percent decline in home sales, from 1,250 in March 2007 to 1,107 last month. Prices dropped 18 percent, from $219,800 a year ago to about $180,500 today.

Local totals were skewed for March. That's because Realtors from Pinellas County and west Pasco County failed to report numbers to the Florida association. They blamed complications from a new computer system.

Noteworthy in the March sales statistics was how the real estate slump has spread to what had been relatively immune markets outside the major metro areas. Miami, with its 56 percent home sales decline, was the top loser. But places like Ocala, Pensacola and Gainesville also had worse-than-average declines.

Nationally, Realtors said sales of existing single-family homes dropped 18.4 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93-million units. The median price of a home sold last month was $198,200, a decline of 8.3 percent from a year ago.

Tampa area Realtors are spotting tentative signs of life in their businesses. Beggins' agency, based in Apollo Beach, reported 114 sales in March, almost double the monthly sales late last fall.

Knetsch is banking on further activity this spring, as lenders sign off on short sales rather than press their claims all the way to foreclosure court.

"What people have to realize is that January and February were two of the slowest individual months since at least January 2003," Knetsch said. "Hopefully we've survived the worst of the market."

James Thorner can be reached at thorner@sptimes.com.

A mixed bag for local sales

Single-family home sales and prices locally, statewide and nationally were down in March compared with the same month last year. But while the bay area's sales decline was less than half the state average, prices were down more than national and state averages.

Bay area sales: -11 percent; prices: -18 percent

Florida sales: -26 percent; prices: -15 percent

U.S. sales: -18.4 percent; prices: -8.3 percent

* Bay area figures exclude Pinellas and west Pasco sales

>>FAST FACTS

A spreading virus?

Smaller Florida metro areas previously buffered from the worst of the home sales decline are now some of the most affected. Here's a sampling of annual sales declines:

Miami: -56 percent

Ocala: -50 percent

Jacksonville: -37 percent

Pensacola: -37 percent

Gainesville: -34 percent

Tampa: -11 percent

Source: Florida Association of Realtors, March 2008 vs. year ago

'Short sales' shift local home sales figures 04/22/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 12:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]