Tampa Bay's housing market began the New Year with more of a whimper than a bang as homes sales plunged in Pinellas County. Prices barely inched up there and in Hillsborough County.
The January figures, released today by Florida Realtors, provide more evidence that the once torrid market is slowing down and increasingly favors buyers. And the local results mirrored those statewide and nationally.
"Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low,'' said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. "Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months."
Pinellas took the worst hit as sales of single family homes plummeted 13.6 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. For the entire month, there were just 685 sales, the smallest number since early 2015. The median price rose to $250,000 for a 2 percent increase, by far the smallest gain in at least a year.
Figures for single-family home sales in other bay area counties:
• Hillsborough: Sales were flat, prices rose 2.2 percent to a median of $240,000.
• Pasco: Sales dropped 3.2 percent, prices rose 10.5 percent to $206,000.
• Hernando: Sales rose 5.3 percent, prices rose 8.4 percent to a median of $168,000.
The top price paid for a bay-area home in January — and the top price ever paid locally — was $16.5 million for a gulf-front mansion in Belleair Shore. Hillsborough's most expensive transaction was $2.65-million for a four-bedroom, five bath home on a canal in South Tampa's Culbreath Isles.
In Pasco's Land O' Lakes, a buyer paid $1.16 million for a home with a dock and boathouse on Lake Thomas, which at 165 acres is large enough for skiing. And in Hernando, the priciest sale of the month was $1.05 million for a house in the Southern Hills Plantation area of Brooksville. It is among the relatively few homes in Hernando to sell for more than $1-million.
Statewide, sales of single family homes dropped 7.2 percent in January while prices rose 4 percent to a median of $249,900.
Nationally, sales of existing homes, including townhomes and condos, dropped 1.2 percent, the third consecutive month with a decrease. Prices rose 2.8 percent to a median of $247,500.
Contact Susan Taylor Martin at email@example.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.