Pinellas County showed its strongest growth in home sales in more than two years in May as prices rose in all four Tampa Bay counties.
According to figures released today by Florida Realtors, sales of single family homes in Pinellas shot up 13.8 percent from May 2018. That was biggest year-over-year increase since November 2016, when sales soared nearly 27 percent.
Pinellas also had the biggest price jump in the bay area in May — up 7.1 percent to a median of $271,000.
Sales in Pinellas were even better than for Florida as a whole although statewide figures showed an impressive increase of almost 10 percent.
"May turned out to be our highest single-family home sales' monthly total for any single month over at least the past 10 years," said Brad O'Connor, Florida Realtors chief economist. "This resurgence in single-family home sales is largely being driven by a single factor, which is that mortgage interest rates have been declining sharply since late last year.''
The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4 percent, down from 4.6 percent a year ago.
Here's how single family homes sales fared in other counties
Hillsborough — sales up 5.1 percent, prices up 3.5 percent to a median of $259,900.
Pasco — sales up less than 1 percent, prices up 4.1 percent to $223,745.
Hernando — sales down 6.3 percent, prices up almost 6 percent to $180,000.
The top price paid for a Tampa Bay home in May was $6.849 million for a penthouse in the Ovation condo tower on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. That was second highest price ever for a bay area condo, exceeded only by the $6.9 million sale of another Ovation unit three years ago.
READ MORE: In Tampa Bay, penthouses aren't just for those at the top anymore
Among single family homes, a house in Spottis Woode, a gated enclave overlooking Clearwater Harbor, took the top-price honors as it sold for $4.835 million. The seller, entrepreneur Ben Mallah, had paid $3.298 million for it exactly two years earlier. He has since purchased a 39,000-square-foot gulf-front house in Belleair Shore for $16.5 million, the record price for a home in the Tampa Bay area.
READ MORE: Developer Ben Mallah buys former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard's Pinellas home for $16.5 million
In Hillsborough, the priciest transaction was $3.25 million for a newly built house in South Tampa's Beach Park area. The 5,804-square-foot house, which sits on a canal, has five bedrooms and six full baths.
In Pasco, a home on nearly four acres sold in Land O' Lakes for $987,990 while Hernando's priciest sale in May was $725,000 for a house with a wine room that can hold 2,000 bottles.
Statewide, sales of single family homes rose 9.6 percent as prices climbed 4.3 percent to a median of $266,000.
Nationally, sales of existing homes — condos and townhomes as well as single family — fell about 1 percent from a year ago. The median price rose 4.8 percent to $277,700.
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Contact Susan Taylor Martin at email@example.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.