Want evidence that speculative new-home construction bears a large responsibility for the current housing bust?
Check out the latest Tampa Bay area home value declines from Zillow, the national online real estate service.
New-home havens like Wesley Chapel, Land O'Lakes, Riverview and New Tampa dominated the top spots for depreciating homes. More established communities with older housing stock — think Indian Rocks Beach, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar and St. Petersburg — have taken fewer punches from falling prices.
In the first three months of this year, the overall median home value in the region settled in at $166,000, 17.1 percent below the median value during the same period in 2007, Zillow reports. Values peaked in mid 2006 at $215,500.
Generally speaking, the farther the home was from an urban center, the steeper the depreciation: Hernando County homes were down 20.5 percent, Pasco County's down 19.3 percent, Hillsborough County's off 17.6 percent and Pinellas County's down 14.7 percent.
The suburban fringe is also a hotbed of short sales, the practice of dumping homes for less than their mortgage value. That's helping drive down prices further.
"The ones having short sales are the ones bought on speculation with 100 percent financing in '04 and '05," said Craig Beggins, broker with Century 21 Beggins Enterprises in Apollo Beach.
Beggins flagged such neighborhoods as the ritzy waterfront Mirabay and the more modest middle Covington Park off Interstate 75. Both have suffered from a surplus of homes bought with a make-a-fast-buck mentality.
The suburbs-vs.-city and new-home-vs.-old-home differences don't stand up in every case. Redington Beach, with its plentiful condos, stands out as a top price-drop area. So do older houses in parts of Port Richey that appreciated too fast during the boom.
In related data released by Zillow, the typical Tampa area homeowner owed $12,000 more to his lender than his home was worth. That's an improvement over last year, when the negative equity amounted to $26,000 per house.