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Tampa Bay area home sales rise, inventories fall in December

And a spike in cash sales suggests investors were active in the market.
A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in the Westchase area of Tampa. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2013)
A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in the Westchase area of Tampa. CHRIS URSO | Times (2013)
Published Jan. 24
Updated Jan. 27

December was a busy month in Tampa Bay real estate as the number of single-family home sales jumped more than 25 percent in Hillsborough and Pasco counties compared with the same month in 2018.

A spike in the number of cash sales also suggests investors were more active in the housing market than they had been for much of 2019, according to Florida Realtors. Meanwhile, the inventory of houses actively listed for sale dropped throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties.

December ended with one of the biggest sales of the year when a couple who are both retired Las Vegas pharmacists paid $4.7 million for a five-bedroom, four-bath home on Redington Beach. As a measure of how much prices have risen, that sale would have been the third most expensive sale in the region in 2015. Last year, it was the 20th.

Related: Here are the 25 most expensive homes sold in the Tampa Bay area in 2019

•••

In Hillsborough County, the number of single-family home sales rose 26 percent year over year, while rising prices drove the total amount paid up nearly 33 percent to $582 million for the month. The median price — the midpoint in the range and an indicator that’s less likely to be skewed by a small number of very big sales — rose 4 percent to $259,990. The median time to sale was unchanged at 77 days, while the inventory of homes listed for sale dropped 14.5 percent.

While the number of cash sales — a sign of how much investors are buying — had trended lower for much of 2019, it rose more than 32 percent in December, when buyers paid cash for nearly one in five homes sold in Hillsborough.

Related: Tampa still a good place to flip a house, new study says

Hillsborough’s total sales of townhouses and condos rose about 5 percent, with a median price of $178,390, an increase of nearly 8 percent compared with December 2018. Active listings were down nearly 18 percent year over year.

•••

In Pinellas, the number of houses sold rose 19 percent, while the total dollar volume of sales rose 30 percent to $442 million. The median sales price was $271,000, up more than 8 percent, and the median time to sale was 66 days, three days more than same month the year before. Active listings were 23 percent lower than during the previous December.

Cash sales rose 26 percent and accounted for about three out of 10 sales that closed. The number of cash sales for condos and townhomes actually dropped along with overall number of sales closed. The median condominium and townhome price was $188,500, an increase of just less than 2 percent. Active listings for condos dropped 19 percent.

•••

In Pasco, the number of sales of single-family homes rose 27 percent year over year, with a total of $251 million changing hands, an increase of nearly 38 percent. The median sales price was $240,000, up 9 percent from December 2018, and the median time to sale was 70 days, four days fewer than the same month in 2018. Cash sales accounted for more than a quarter of all closed sales, an increase of 35 percent.

Active listings in Pasco dropped 14 percent for single-family homes and 18 percent for condominiums and townhomes. The total number of Pasco condo sales was down slightly, but the median price of $162,000 was an increase of nearly 14 percent from 12 months before.

•••

Hernando County saw a 2 percent increase in the number of houses sold and 4 percent increases in both the total dollar volume of sales ($69 million) and the median sales price ($182,000). Median time to sale was 76 days, more than a week longer than in December 2018. Cash sales rose 20 percent and accounted for more than a quarter of houses sold. The inventory of single-family homes shrunk by less than 1 percent.

Hernando’s median condo sales price was $139,900, up nearly 12 percent. While the number of sales dropped compared to the year before, the number of transactions in both years was 20 or fewer. The same goes for active listings, which were down but can be counted in the dozens.

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