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The price of homes in the Tampa Bay area continues to soar

This four-bedroom, five and a half bath home in Tampa's Sunset Park area sold in October for $2.857 million, Hiillsborough County's highest priced sale that month. Photo courtesy Re-focus Photography.
Published Nov. 22, 2016

Tampa Bay home prices continued to soar in October, with Hillsborough County recording its biggest year-over-year gain since January.

Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties also showed dramatic increases as buyers vied for an exceedingly tight supply of single-family homes — Pasco had less than a three-month inventory.

And even though interest rates have risen slightly since the presidential election, there is little sign the market is slowing down.

"We haven't noticed any impact yet,'' said Rachel Sartain, managing broker at Keller Williams Realty St. Petersburg. In fact, she said, the possibility of rates going higher will "hopefully increase activity'' by spurring people to buy now.

Pasco had the biggest jump in single-family home prices, up 17.4 percent from October a year ago to $179,900. Hillsborough, meanwhile, had its biggest gain in nine months, up nearly 16 percent to a median of $220,000.

In Pinellas, prices rose nearly 15 percent, to $206,500, and in Hernando, they were up nearly 13 percent, to $141,500.

With demand still high — and prices to match — near downtown St. Petersburg, Sartain said more buyers are looking farther north, in the 33702 and 33703 ZIP Code areas, where houses are more affordable.

"It's the 4th and 9th Street corridors,'' she said. "In the $150,000 to $250,000 price range, that's where we're seeing absorption rates as low as two to three months.''

Related: How long can the good times roll for Tampa Bay's housing market for the bubble pops?

At the other end of the spectrum, the top price paid in October for a bay area home — and the most paid for any single-family house in three years — was $6.875 million for a six-bedroom contemporary estate in Safety Harbor overlooking Old Tampa Bay.

Although the 10 gated acres were bought in the name of a trust, the borrowers on the $4 million mortgage loan are Pers and Svetlana Wickstrom. He is CEO of several drug and alcohol rehabilitation in programs in Michigan, including the 200-bed Best Drug Rehabilitation.

In Hillsborough, October's priciest transaction was a 5,000-square foot waterfront house in Tampa's Sunset Park area that sold for $2.857 million.

The Coldwell Banker listing agents, Mike Hughes and Jeff Shelton, were the selling agents on two other mega-deals in Tampa this year — the $6.625 million sale of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Coach Greg Schiano's home and the $4.5 million sale of a house purchased as a tear-down.

"The 2016 luxury market in South Tampa has been very active,'' Hughes said. "With the international flights increasing and the wonderful things our mayor is doing — it's multiple things that keep increasing values in South Tampa.''

Meanwhile, Hughes said, the demand for homes under $500,000 has been "extremely active,'' especially from buyers who plan to raze and build new.

"That stuff really flies off the shelves,'' he said. "South Tampa land value really is in the $300,000 to $400,000 range for average (new) homes of $900,000 to a million.''

In Pasco's Trinity area, the Champions Club golf course community continued to be popular, with a home there selling for $912,532 in October's priciest transaction. And in Hernando, a mansion on 20-plus acres in Brooksville sold for $825,000.

Other takeaways from the October figures:

•The median time from listing to contract dropped in all four counties — just 29 days in Pinellas, 31 days in Pasco, 34 days in Hillsborough and 42 days in Hernando.

•Sellers in Hillsborough County received 97.3 percent of their asking price; in the other three counties they got 96 percent.

•Prices of condos and townhomes showed year-over-year increases, up 16.4 percent in Pinellas to $145,000 and up 13.4 percent in Hillsborough to $144,000.

For Florida as a whole, the median price of a single family home in October rose 11.7 percent to $220,000 while the price of a condo or townhome was up 8 percent to $161,000.

"Florida's housing market continues to experience fewer sales of distressed properties and a restricted supply of homes for sale," said Matey Veissi, president of Florida Realtors. "When you look at the state's tight inventory of homes and a decline in the median time it takes for a home to sell, it shows buyers are still in the market. However, they're not finding as many potential options as they'd like."

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

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