1. Business

Sales of Tampa Bay homes plunge in December

In one good sign for buyers, the supply of available Tampa Bay homes continued to inch up.
This home in Tampa’s gated Avila community sold in December for $2.7 million, making it Hillsborough County’s priciest sale of the month.
This home in Tampa’s gated Avila community sold in December for $2.7 million, making it Hillsborough County’s priciest sale of the month.
Published Jan. 22, 2019

Sales of single family-homes in the Tampa Bay area plunged in December as prices again rose.

In one good sign for buyers, though, the supply of available homes continued to inch up, with Pinellas County having its largest supply in at least three years.

The bay area market reflected those statewide and nationally, both of which saw a slump in sales as the year ended. The December numbers are partly a result of higher interest rates during much of 2018.

"The housing market is obviously very sensitive to mortgage rates,'' Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said Tuesday. "Softer sales in December reflected … contract signing activity in previous months when mortgage rates were higher than today. Now, with mortgage rates lower, some revival in home sales is expected going into spring."

Eric Sain, president of Florida Realtors, also saw a silver lining in December's figures.

"Florida's housing sector is continuing to show signs that inventory levels are finally easing in many local markets after being constrained for a long time," he said. "Improving inventory and interest rates that, though rising remain historically low, offer a good opportunity for homebuyers who have been waiting on the sidelines.''

Pasco had the biggest drop in year-over-year sales, plunging 13.7 percent as the median price rose a scant 2.3 percent to $220,000. Other figures released today by Florida Realtors:

Hillsborough: Sales down 12.8 percent, prices up 5.8 percent to $249,900.

Pinellas: Sales down 8.6 percent, prices up 4.2 percent to $249,900.

Hernando: Sales up 4.8 percent, prices up 6 percent to $174,900

For the second consecutive month, Pinellas had a three-month supply of homes. That was the most since December 2015, the furthest back that records go. Inventory in Hernando was also at three months while Pasco and Hillsborough had less. A five-month supply is considered a "balanced'' market that favors neither buyers nor sellers.

The top price paid for a Tampa Bay home in December was $6.399 million for a three-bedroom, three-bath house with 100 feet of white sandy beach in Redington Beach. The price was also the third highest for any home sold in the bay area last year.

In Tampa's gated Avila community, a six-bedroom, six-bath brick house went for $2.7 million in Hillsborough's most expensive sale of the month. The home, on the seventh green of Avila's golf course, was built in 1987 but renovated since then.

"It has the most beautiful view in Avila, overlooking both the golf course and the lake,'' said Dianne Martin, the listing agent. Unlike previous years, though, neither it nor any other house in Avila made the Tampa Bay Times list of the 25 most expensive homes sold in 2018.

"Older ones suffer a bit if they haven't been renovated,'' Martin said. "Prices for updated ones are inching up though not like in South Tampa.''

In Pasco's New Port Richey, a buyer paid $1.05 million for a six-bedroom, five-bath waterfront estate on two lots. And in Hernando, December's priciest sale was $490,00 for a lakefront home in Brooksville.

Statewide, sales of single-family homes plunged almost 10 percent. Prices rose 4.2 percent to a median of $255,000.

Nationally, sales of existing homes — condos and townhomes as well as houses — dropped 10.3 percent after two consecutive months of increases. Prices rose almost 3 percent to $253,600, the 82nd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.


  1. LaKendria Robinson is the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee's director for community outreach and the Business Connect program. [Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee] [Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee]
    The NFL’s Business Connect seeks to put local businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and LGBTQ entrepreneurs in a position to compete for Super Bowl contracts.
  2. Muhammad Abdur-Rahim points out the location of what he believed to be a former African American cemetery next to the parking lot of FrankCrum Staffing, 100 S Missouri Ave. in Clearwater. Now, it appears the cemetery may have been on an adjacent lot where the building stands. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]
    Archaeologists were scanning a vacant lot for bodies until an old city record pointed them to an adjacent property.
  3. Construction continues on the new Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County located in Wesley Chapel. The center will feature a 98,000 square foot sports center with eight bio-cushioned hardwood courts that can be utilized for basketball, volleyball, mixed martial arts, gymnastics, wrestling, soccer, futsal, cheerleading and dance. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The $44 million facility is expected to hold its first tournament in September
  4.  [Getty Images]
    While credit scores will fall for millions, millions more will see their scores rise.
  5. Lucky's Market ahead of its St. Petersburg grand opening just two years ago. [Times (2018)]
    Only one Florida Lucky’s Market will remain a Lucky’s. The future of the Tampa Bay locations is still unclear.
  6. Internet crimes are on the rise in Florida. [AP Photo]
    Also: Why were the SunTrust Financial Centre lights purple? And the cost of owning an electric car.
  7. AdventHealth's central Pasco emergency room at t 16625 State Road 54 is shown here. The hospital chain recently purchased 18 acres on State Road 52 at the northern entrance of the Mirada development west of Dade City. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
    The hospital chain pays $4.5 million to buy 18 acres from a Metro Development Group affiliate.
  8. [Getty Images] [Getty Images]
    It would probably be good to ask his thoughts, the advice columnist writes.
  9. Renderings by Arquitectonica of the proposed Red Apple Group condo project in St. Petersburg. Courtesy of Arquitectonica [Courtesy of Arquitectonica]
    $300 million. 45 stories. A little closer to existence.
  10. A group of East Lake residents has erected signs protesting a 44-home development proposed by Tarpon Springs developer Pioneer Homes. Tarpon Springs commissioners recently voted to annex the site into the city. [Courtesy of Marc Washburn]
    The action targets a plan to build 44 homes on land between Keystone Road and Highland Avenue, double what was allowed in the East Lake District.