06/29/15 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Less than six months after paying $1.8 million for a waterfront St. Petersburg house and demolishing it, the head of C1 Bank and his husband have sold the vacant lot for a $150,000 profit.
Records show that Long Drive Properties LLC paid Trevor Burgess, the bank's CEO, and Gary Hess $1.95 million for the large corner lot on North Shore Drive near downtown St. Petersburg. ...
06/26/15 Real Estate
MIAMI — A mid-rise residential project planned for the Tampa Tribune's riverfront headquarters will be rental apartments and not condos, its developer says, and likely will eliminate the paper's printing plant operations on the site.
"It's all gone," Jorge Perez, founder and CEO of the Related Group, said Thursday when asked what would happen to the Tribune's printing operations there....
06/22/15 Economic Development
One of Tampa Bay's oldest — and dreariest — malls is getting a major facelift.
University Mall near the University of South Florida will get three new anchor tenants and two new free-standing restaurants as part of a renovation that could start early next year, the commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE announced Monday.
The transformation of the 41-year-old mall will include the addition of "lush landscaping, water features and seating areas offering visitors a comfortable place to enjoy the Florida weather,'' a news release said. ...
06/22/15 Real Estate
Tampa Bay home sales slowed slightly in May with year-over-year gains not as dramatic as in recent months.
For the metro area, which includes Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, the number of single family homes sold in May rose 11.4 percent from a year ago, but was less than the number changing owners in April. Most of the decline came in Pinellas.
After climbing several months, "home sales have leveled out a bit,'' a statement from the Pinellas Realtor Organization said Monday. "Partnered with the recent slight increase in interest rates and decreasing inventory, that's enough to burst anyone's bubble talk.'' ...
06/21/15 Real Estate
Rodney Brown thought he had found a way to keep the bank from foreclosing on his Spring Hill home even though he hadn't made a mortgage payment in at least five years.
In April, Brown declared bankruptcy, a move that immediately stops any foreclosure action. That might have worked, except Brown has declared bankruptcy so often that Tampa bankruptcy Judge Catherine Peek McEwen finally had enough....
06/19/15 Real Estate
Chris Smith had just graduated from the University of West Florida in 2003 when he saw a foreclosed house he admired. He tracked down the Tennessee bank that owned it, and got what he calls "a really good deal.''
Smith was hooked. After moving to Tampa in 2005 to help with his dad's vinyl repair business, he started buying and selling houses, "rode the market down like everybody else,'' then rebounded along with the economy. ...
06/19/15 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Given the recent armed robberies of two Tampa Bay real estate agents, many Realtors are wondering if they should start carrying a gun.
"No!'' St. Petersburg police Chief Tony Holloway emphatically said Friday. "That person's going to take that gun away from you.''
Holloway was addressing dozens of members of the Pinellas Realtor Organization at a seminar on how to protect themselves in the wake of the June 3 robberies. A retired Air Force major is awaiting trial on charges that he lured two female agents to empty houses and robbed them at gunpoint, shackling his first victim at the hands and feet while he called her husband demanding a $50,000 ransom. ...
06/16/15 Real Estate
Seven years ago, Renee Abuton realized she was juggling too much — student loans, car payments, mortgage payments and homeowners association fees.
Abuton, then a single parent, declared bankruptcy and let the mortgage company repossess her Pasco County home. Once the company had the property, she figured, it would start paying the HOA fees.
Although Abuton had been locked out in 2008, the lender didn't take title to the house until several years later. In the meantime, while the house remained in her name, she was responsible for all HOA fees that accrued....
06/16/15 Real Estate
Pinellas County property owners can now get alerts about possibly fraudulent activity involving deeds, affidavits or other official records.
The Pinellas Clerk of Court Office is the first in Florida and among the few in the nation to offer the new property fraud alert system for free to those who sign up.
"This is a wonderful tool,'' said Vanessa Castrogiovanni, the office's communications coordinator. "A lot of people don't really check filings in official records so if somebody is recording something under your name you are alerted right away.'' ...
06/12/15 Real Estate
Despite rising values, nearly 100,000 Tampa Bay borrowers still owe more than their homes are worth.
As of the end of March, almost one in five bay area homes with mortgages had negative equity, according to report released Friday by the real estate site Zillow. And almost 60 percent of those were so underwater that the owners owed more than 120 percent of the home's value.
That means values would have to rise more than 20 percent for the owners to have any chance of breaking even on a sale. ...
The bankruptcy court for Florida's Middle District, one of the busiest in the nation, is getting a new chief judge.
On Oct. 1, Judge Michael G. Williamson of Tampa will begin a four-year term overseeing a district that includes four divisions and spans a 35-county area from Jacksonville to Fort Myers.
"Judge Williamson brings years of experience, management skills and a deep and abiding love of this court that will take us further along our way to excellence,'' the current chief judge, Karen Jennemann of Orlando, said Friday. Her term expires Sept. 30. ...
06/12/15 Real Estate
Kids who finished kindergarten this year hadn't been born when the 6,500-square-foot home in northern Hillsborough County first hit the market.
As nearby properties changed hands, the Odessa house sat unsold through two presidential elections, a recession, a recovery and enough celebrity gossip to fill seven years of People magazine.
Finally, after 2,552 days with no buyer in sight, the listing expired in January. ...
06/11/15 Real Estate
At both the low and high ends of Tampa Bay's real estate market, cash still talks.
In March, a retired executive and his wife paid $2.55 million in cash for an Indian Shores condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
The same month, all but six of the 134 homes and condos that changed hands for $50,000 or less in Hillsborough County were cash deals.
Even as it becomes slightly easier to get a mortgage, cash continues to fuel the housing recovery in Tampa Bay, a report released Thursday by the data provider CoreLogic shows....
06/09/15 Real Estate
Victoria Clark's family may be the best example of why Tampa Bay's apartment vacancy rate is at the lowest level in years.
Clark and her three kids live at the Gateway on 4th Apartment Homes in north St. Petersburg. Her sister lives in the Meadows, a rental complex next door. And their parents retired to Viera Bayside, a gated rental community less than a mile away.
"I like apartment living because of all the amenities like the pool, the gym, the park, the playground,'' Clark, 42, said Tuesday as she toweled off after a swim. "It's clean, the grounds are kept well, I don't have to worry about the upkeep or the pool, which my kids are in all the time.''...
06/09/15 Real Estate
The number of Tampa Bay borrowers losing their homes to foreclosure continues to drop.
In the 12-month period ending in April, lenders repossessed 16,664 bay area homes, a 2.6 percent decline compared with the previous year, data provider CoreLogic reported on Tuesday.
The percentage of Tampa Bay borrowers who were "seriously delinquent'' on their mortgages also decreased, with 7.7 percent at least 90 days late on their payments compared with more than 10 percent in April 2014....