05/28/15 Real Estate
Believe it or not, Tampa Bay's housing market might be undervalued.
Despite talk of big price increases and fears of another bubble, the average sales price for a bay area home in April was slightly less than the estimated full market value, the research and data firm RealtyTrac says.
Compare that with the findings for San Francisco and a few other parts of the country where homes sold for more than they are probably worth....
05/22/15 Real Estate
Ask Realtors about Tampa Bay's housing market these days and you're apt to hear words like fantastic and tremendous.
What you probably won't hear, except in a whispered voice, is: bubble.
With prices rising again, no one likes to think the market could be destined for a repeat of the boom-to-bust catastrophe that cost millions of people their homes.
Yet one research and consulting firm says a data-based analysis it conducted of the Tampa Bay metro area shows another bubble could be forming....
05/21/15 Real Estate
Tampa Bay home sales shot up in April with prices also showing strong gains even as many buyers paid in cash.
In Pinellas County, year-over-year sales of single-family homes rose 21.3 percent while sales of condos and townhomes jumped 17.5 percent.
In Hillsborough, sales of single-family homes increased 20.2 percent while sales of condos and townhomes soared 27.4 percent.
"It's a fabulous market, absolutely,'' said veteran agent Mary Pond of Smith & Associates in Tampa. "It's been tremendous.''...
In its pitch to donors, Cancer Fund of America touted "direct patient aid'' as one of the many ways it helped tens of thousands of Americans struggling with deadly disease.
But instead of medical treatment or financial help, patients got boxes of sample-size soap, seasonal greeting cards and Little Debbie Snack Cakes.
Meanwhile, the family behind Cancer Fund built a network of "sham charities'' that were designed to enrich officers at the expense of sick women and children, as alleged in a complaint filed Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission, attorneys general and secretaries of state of all of 50 states. ...
05/15/15 Real Estate
Jenna and David Norge speak in wistful tones of all the homes that might have been.
There was the ranch-style place in northeast St. Petersburg, behind Publix and close to the boat ramp at Crisp Park.
"My type of house,'' David says ruefully. "A fixer-upper."
Or how about the three-bedroom, two-story craftsman near Crescent Lake?
"I knew it was going to go fast,'' Jenna says, "just because of where it was located.''...
05/14/15 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Fusion 1560, a five-story rental complex whose success helped fuel an apartment-building boom near downtown, has been sold for $57.5 million.
Chicago-based Mesirow Financial Real Estate Value Fund closed earlier this month on the 325-unit complex at 1560 Central Ave. The seller was a company backed by the California State Teachers' Retirement System.
The purchase price "is a big number but that's what's happening in today's real estate market,'' Darron Kattan, managing director of the Tampa commercial brokerage Franklin Street, said Thursday. "The market continues to be strong for high quality property in high quality locations.''...
05/12/15 Real Estate
Tampa Bay had the nation's third-highest percentage of homes in foreclosure in March, although fewer bay area borrowers were "seriously delinquent" on their loans.
Of bay area houses, condos and townhomes with mortgages, 4.2 percent were in some stage of foreclosure, a level exceeded only by Newark, N.J., and the Nassau-Suffolk area of New York, according to property information source CoreLogic....
05/11/15 Real Estate
More homes and condos sold in the Tampa Bay area in the first quarter of 2015 than in any other part of Florida except for Miami-Fort Lauderdale.
According to a Florida Realtors report released Monday, bay area buyers closed on 9,866 single-family homes, a 22.5 percent increase over the same period a year ago. The median price rose 7.6 percent to $156,000.
Meanwhile, a total of 3,536 condos and townhomes changed hands in Tampa Bay, a gain of nearly 18 percent. The median condo/townhome price hit $108,000, up a little over 9 percent from 2014's first quarter....
05/11/15 Real Estate
Cushman & Wakefield, one of Tampa Bay's best-known commercial real estate brokerage firms, is being acquired by rival DTZ.
The deal, announced Monday, would create a combined global company with more than 43,000 employees in 60 countries and more than $8 billion in annual revenues. The company would operate under the Cushman & Wakefield name.
Chicago-based DTZ and New York-based Cushman & Wakefield "have remarkably complementary skills and reach in different geographies — whether in New York, London or Shanghai, this will be a formidable combination," Brett White, executive chairman of DTZ and CEO-to-be of the merged company, said in a news release....
05/10/15 Real Estate
At 18, just out of high school in Indianapolis and unsure of what she wanted to do, Amy Seeks went to work as a secretary in a real estate office.
Almost three decades later, Seeks is vice president of real estate services for Smith & Associates, a Tampa Bay firm that specializes in luxury homes and condos. In her position, she analyzes market trends and works with Smith's 220 agents. ...
05/08/15 Real Estate
All over Tampa Bay they lurk — deserted, decaying, scary reminders of the real estate bust.
Abandoned by their owners and stuck in the foreclosure process, they are a blight on neighborhoods rich and poor. Some have been vacant for years, so long that people like Lee Randall can't even remember the last time they saw the normal signs of life.
Randall lives a few doors away from a zombie house on Nevada Avenue in northeast St. Petersburg. A large, fallen oak limb partially blocks the driveway. Jumbled piles of toys, furniture and dirty dishes can be seen through a grimy side window. ...
05/07/15 Real Estate
If TV shows like Flip or Flop have you itching to flip a house, Tampa Bay is a good place to do it.
In the first three months of 2015, bay area flippers averaged a 57 percent gross profit on their flips, the sixth highest in the nation, according to a new report by the housing data firm RealtyTrac. Slightly over 7 percent of all homes sold in Tampa Bay in the first quarter were flips — defined as a property bought and resold within 12 months. Of the 587 bay area flips between Jan. 1 and March 31, flippers paid an average of $105,842 and resold for an average of $166,401, a gain of $60,559. ...
05/05/15 Real Estate
TAMPA — For $13.9 million, you can own the largest estate opposite the world's longest unbroken stretch of sidewalk.
The historic Stovall-Lee House on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa just hit the market at the highest price of any current listing in Hillsborough County and the second highest in the bay area.
Situated on 2.6 acres overlooking Hillsborough Bay, the six-bedroom, nine-bath home with 8,000 square feet of living space boasts antique chandeliers, the original mahogany and cypress moldings, and some of the original leaded glass windows....
Tampa Bay's hotel industry has seen explosive growth over the past year. At least seven new hotels are planned, under construction or recently opened on Clearwater Beach and in the downtown areas of Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Kent Schwarz knows the hospitality business — he started as a bellhop at 15 in his native Phoenix, then went on to work for Hilton. Today he is the Clearwater-based executive vice president of hotel services for Colliers International, the real estate brokerage. ...
05/01/15 Real Estate
It's one of Tampa Bay's great party houses but not in the debauched, get-sick-in-the-bushes, Animal House kind of way.
Over the years, Fazal Fazlin's waterfront St. Petersburg estate has hosted elegant fundraisers for a wide range of worthy causes — Family Resources, the American Cancer Society and All Children's Hospital, to name just a few.
Thousands of guests have wandered the 5 acres of manicured lawns, enjoyed sunsets over Boca Ciega Bay, supped on lavishly catered fare in a grand hall and formal dining room big enough to seat 500....