Make us your home page
Instagram

Starkey Ranch latest to start new home construction as Pasco market picks up

Pasco County libraries administrators Nancy Fredericks, left, and Sean McGarvey look over an illustration Thursday outlining key facilities in the planned Starkey Ranch development.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Pasco County libraries administrators Nancy Fredericks, left, and Sean McGarvey look over an illustration Thursday outlining key facilities in the planned Starkey Ranch development.

ODESSA — The county's movers and shakers dined on jambalaya and posed for pictures with the loblolly bay tree they had ceremonially planted at Starkey Ranch, the newest planned community that expects to be selling homes by next year.

They oohed and ahhed over bedsheet-sized maps hanging between the openings in the pavilion that diagramed future homes, retailers and a never-before-tried venture: a park, library, and K-8 school site shared between the county and Pasco school district.

"I fought for that," said Kathryn Starkey, pointing to a red spot earmarked for a restaurant near the residential areas. The county commissioner and member of the pioneer family said she hopes for a restaurant with a porch that residents can walk to and enjoy food, entertainment and each other.

Up the road on State Road 54, billboards beckon commuters with ads for more new homes at Concord Station and the new Estancia at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel.

It's quite a difference from the past five years when the only homes being advertised were foreclosures. Developers and analysts say the market for new homes, which virtually died during the Great Recession, is starting to show signs of life.

"The pace we've been on for so long is still substantially above where we are today," said Dan Green, principal of developer Wheelock Communities, which bought the 2,500-acre Starkey Ranch for about $50 million last year. He said, "Pasco County is positioning itself to be successful in the next 20 years."

Green's statements are echoed by analysts' reports that show the market is making gains, though not nearly at the frenetic pace of the boom years.

"In terms of both new single-family home closings and permits, 2013 was the best year in Pasco County since 2007," said Marvin Rose, author of the Rose Residential Report.

Rose said after posting modest gains in 2012, new residential closings and permits increased dramatically in 2013 with 1,520 closings.

That represents a 37 percent increase over 2102 and a 53 percent rise from 2011.

However, Rose and others attribute the heavy increase to the fact that the market had plunged so low during the bust.

"We're still building a fraction of what we used to even before the peak," said Tony Polito, consultant for housing research firm Metrostudy.

They say they expect more modest growth in 2014.

Rose said factors that could hinder sales include the large price gap between new and resale homes, foreclosures still in the pipeline, and owners who are encouraged by the market's performance to put "for sale" signs back in their yards.

However, plenty of positives remain. Those include reduced inventory as more resales get bought, an improving economy, hurricane-free weather, pent-up demand and lower unemployment.

Also, builders have used the dormant years to improve energy efficiency and structural quality, moves that may sway buyers toward new construction.

"It's absolutely picked up," said Lew Friedland, president of Adam Smith Enterprises, developers of Trinity. He attributes a large part of the turnaround for his area to the relocation of Community Hospital from the city of New Port Richey to State Road 54, where it was renamed Medical Center of Trinity.

"All of their employees and all those associated people around them are looking to move to the area," he said.

The two feed on each other, said John Hagen, CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council. "Typically it's housing, then retail and employment," Hagen said. Areas of activity draw more employers, he said. "It helps if there are other employers there," he said. "Otherwise it seems risky, and people don't like to do anything risky."

>>by the numbers

Pasco single-family housing permits

2002: 4,786

2003: 5,883

2004: 6,300

2005: 7,252

2006: 4,723

2007: 1,955

2008: 1,111

2009: 937

2010: 974

2011: 884

2012: 1,138

2013: 1,449

2014: 127*

* as of Jan. 31

Source: Pasco County Government

Starkey Ranch latest to start new home construction as Pasco market picks up 02/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 7:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New town homes sprouting in Oldsmar

    Real Estate

    BY PIPER CASTILLO

    Times Staff Writer

    OLDSMAR — City officials have been chipping away for several years on a downtown development plan, bringing new life to a 7-acre site on State Street. One day in the not-far-off future, they want to lively streets and walkways used by residents and …

  2. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  3. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  5. 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 wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.