Homes sales drop, price increases slow in most of Tampa Bay in July

This six-bedroom, six-bath home in Tampa sold in July for $4.4 million, making it the top sale of the month in the Tampa Bay area. {Courtesy of Aaron Flores, High Res Media]
This six-bedroom, six-bath home in Tampa sold in July for $4.4 million, making it the top sale of the month in the Tampa Bay area. {Courtesy of Aaron Flores, High Res Media]
Published Aug. 22, 2018

Tampa Bay's once torrid real estate market shows definite signs of slowing down.

Price increases in July were among the smallest in at least a year, and sales declined everywhere but in Hillsborough County, according to figures released today by Florida Realtors.

The bay area figures reflect those nationwide as sales of single-family homes fell 1.2 percent from the same month a year earlier.

"Too many would-be buyers are either being priced out, or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market," Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said in a statement.

A quick run-up in mortgage rates earlier this year also contributed to the lackluster sales figures, Yun said.

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In the Tampa Bay area, sales of single-family homes in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties dropped below their July 2017 levels.

Hernando had the biggest price increase, up 7.7 percent to a median of $170,000. That was followed by Hillsborough, up 6.4 percent to $216,000; Pinellas, up 4.2 percent to $250,000; and Pasco, up 3 percent to $216,000.

None of the four counties has had a double-digit price increase in several months, which was the norm in early 2017.

The area's top sale in July was $4.4 million for a six-bedroom, six-bath house overlooking the Palma Ceia golf course in South Tampa. Originally listed at $4.75 million, it had been on the market for nearly a year.

On Tierra Verde at the southern tip of Pinellas, a buyer from Michigan paid $4.2 million for a five-bedroom, five--bath home with stone fireplaces and a veranda stretching the entire length of the house.

"It's very different; it has kind of a Southampton influence,'' listing agent Debi Egan said, referring to the upscale Long Island, N.Y. community. The house, which will be used as a second home, is among several that have recently sold or are under contract on Tierra Verde's Oceanview Drive, one of Tampa Bay's priciest streets.

In general, Eagan said, homes in good condition are selling the quickest.

"What I'm seeing," she said, "is that buyers don't want to have to do as much renovation and so homes that have been kept up and are priced reasonable to their comparable market I don't think have a problem at all."

Pasco's top sale in July was $1.1 million for a four-bedroom, four-bath waterfront home in New Port Richey. And in Hernando, a nearly 5,000-square-foot house on 10 acres in Brooksville sold for $710,000, making it that county's priciest deal of the month.

Statewide, sales of single-family homes rose 3.8 percent in July while prices climbed 6.3 percent to a median of $255,000.

Nationally, the median price of all existing homes — condos and townhomes as well as houses — rose to $272,300, a 4.6 percent gain from a year earlier.

Steadily rising prices have put the most pressure on first-time buyers, "who continue to represent only around a third of sales despite a very healthy economy and labor market," said Yun of the Realtors association.

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