Whether due to pent-up demand or just crisp fall weather, sales of single-family homes jumped 21 percent in October in the Tampa Bay area.
That's by far the biggest percentage gain in three months and especially impressive for one of the traditionally quieter periods in residential real estate.
"We had an awesome October,'' Bonnie Davis, managing broker of Re/Max Metro, said Thursday. "We just did not see a slowdown at all.''
Metro's offices in St. Petersburg, Tierra Verde and Treasure Island closed more than $50 million in sales, helping boost Pinellas County's year-over-year figures by 30 percent. The Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, which releases figures for Hillsborough County, reported a nearly 12 percent increase in October compared with October 2013.
Statewide, single-family home sales shot up 17.8 percent and median prices rose 4.6 percent, to $177,000, the 35th consecutive month for price gains.
"Everything appears to be moving in the right direction, against a background of moderate and sustainable price changes,'' John Tuccillo, chief economist for the trade group Florida Realtors, said in a statement. "However, it's unclear whether the October numbers signal a revival of the brisk-paced recovery in the housing market or whether this is a one-month anomaly.''
At $159,900, the median sale price for single-family homes in the bay area — Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties — continued to be among the lowest for major metro areas in Florida. But the figures look better on a county basis — Pinellas' median price in October was $175,000, nearly 13 percent higher than in October 2013.
In Hillsborough, which reports differently, the average sales price rose nearly 6 percent, to $204,231.
(An average price is the dollar amount of all sales, divided by the number of sales; median means an equal number of sales above and below that figure.)
Tampa Bay's condo market proved robust in October, with sales shooting up nearly 17 percent and the median price rising nearly 15 percent, to $116,000. Of Florida's 20 metro areas, four — Pensacola, Orlando, Naples and Vero Beach — showed bigger increases.
Strickland, of Re/Max Metro, expects sales of both condos and houses to continue strong even as the holiday season is upon us.
"November and December slow down some, but what you have are more serious buyers,'' she said. "Typically with the holidays people have other things to do, but if people are looking at property now, they need to buy now.''
Contact Susan Taylor Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect name for Bonnie Davis, managing broker of Re/Max Metro.