Make us your home page

Tampa Bay area home sales increase, but prices keep falling

As they've done for most of the past 18 months, Tampa Bay homes sales improved year over year: Sellers unloaded 2,050 homes last month vs. 1,856 in February 2009.

But healthier sales haven't stanched housing depreciation. Tampa Bay's median home price dipped about 2.5 percent, to $128,100 in February, compared with $131,400 in February 2009.

Thirteen-percent unemployment and record-high mortgage defaults could press on prices even further this year. Since their high-water mark in June 2006, Tampa Bay home prices have receded 46.5 percent, Realtors said.

For Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, the April 30 expiration of federal home buyers tax credits of $8,000 and $6,500 is critical.

"The key test for a durable recovery comes in the next few months as the tax credit deadline approaches," Yun said.

"If we see a surge in home buying comparable to last fall in the months leading up to the original tax credit deadline, then enough inventory should be absorbed to ensure a broad home price stabilization."

In Florida, home sales rose 21 percent in February, but prices drooped 7 percent year over year. The sales spurt was even greater from January to February, but that's the predictable pattern in a state that welcomes millions of winter visitors.

Places like Fort Myers/Cape Coral, Orlando and Jacksonville topped Tampa Bay for home sales. But they paid for that success with steeper home devaluation.

Across the United States, single-family home sales fell 1.4 percent from January to February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million. Outside of Florida, sales suffered from harsh winter weather, Yun said.

Distressed sales characterize the Tampa Bay market. More than 15,500 local homeowners have applied for government-subsidized mortgage modifications — and thousands more will enter mediation with their lenders — but the foreclosure rate continues to climb.

At Craig Beggins' Apollo Beach realty office, a quarter of transactions are short-sale homes, those sold for less than their mortgage debt. Nonforeclosure sellers clinging to high asking prices do so at their peril.

Though the deals take months from contract to closing, 30 to 40 short sales fill Beggins' commission coffers each month. For agents, the wait for a payoff can be excruciating.

"I tell agents short sales are like a Crock-Pot. Keep throwing them in the stew and you'll have a feast in the summer," Beggins said.

Tampa Bay area home sales increase, but prices keep falling 03/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. At Menorah Manor, planning paid off during Irma

    Nursing Homes

    ST. PETERSBURG — Doris Rosenblatt and her husband, Frank, have lived in Florida all of their lives, so they know about hurricanes.

    Raisa Collins, 9, far left, works on a craft project as Certified Nursing Assistant Shuntal Anthony holds Cassidy Merrill, 1, while pouring glue for Quanniyah Brownlee, 9, right, at Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. To help keep its patients safe during Hurricane Irma, Menorah Manor allowed employees to shelter their families and pets at the nursing home and also offered daycare through the week. The facility was able to accommodate and feed everyone who weathered the storm there. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. After Irma, nursing homes scramble to meet a hard deadline

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's nursing homes and assisted-living facilities find themselves in an unfamiliar place this week — pushing back against Gov. Rick Scott's administration over new rules that require them to purchase generator capacity by Nov. 15 to keep their residents safe and comfortable in a power …

    In this Sept. 13 photo, a woman is transported from The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills as patients are evacuated after a loss of air conditioning due to Hurricane Irma in Hollywood. Nine have died and patients had to be moved out of the facility, many of them on stretchers or in wheelchairs. Authorities have launched a criminal investigation to figure out what went wrong and who, if anyone, was to blame. [Amy Beth Bennett | South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP]
  3. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst


    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  4. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette


    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  5. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]