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These were the most expensive homes sold in Tampa Bay in 2014

This spec home on Davis Islands sold for $4.6 million, making it one of the most expensive home sales in Tampa Bay in 2014. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
This spec home on Davis Islands sold for $4.6 million, making it one of the most expensive home sales in Tampa Bay in 2014. [SKIP O'ROURKE | Times]
Published Jan. 23, 2015

Golf course — good. Waterfront — better. Of the 10 most expensive homes sold in Tampa Bay in 2014, just two overlook greens and fairways, while eight boast the spectacular waterfront views that have long lured high-end buyers. A fitness guru shelled out $6.7 million in August for a Belleair Beach estate, making it the year's top local sale. The owners of a Michigan company spent $5.5 million to enjoy sunsets from a 7,000-square-foot mansion on a private island with a helipad in Ruskin.

Among the other buyers of multimillion-dollar residences last year: a banker, lawyers and the wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith.

"I think we're seeing a pretty healthy luxury market in Tampa Bay," said Charles Richardson, regional senior vice president of Coldwell Banker. "We're becoming much more of a strong draw for that kind of buyer."

Last year, 72 homes in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties sold for more than $2 million, a 37 percent jump from the year before. Somewhat surprisingly, seven of the 10 priciest were not in beachy Pinellas but in businessy Hillsborough. And four of those were on Davis Islands, home to Tampa General Hospital and some stunning bayfront views.

The community "has great water, it has that little downtown area that's really charming and has kind of a village feel to it," said Mary Pond, the Smith & Associates agent on two of the Davis Islands homes. "It holds its value very well and the resales are good."

But while Tampa Bay's housing market is clearly on the rebound, none of the 10 costliest homes last year came close to the $9 million that St. Petersburg entrepreneur Bill Edwards paid in 2011 for a 12,400-square-foot mansion on Snell Isle's Brightwaters Boulevard. The only Snell Isle home that made the new top 10 list went for $3.64 million, $200,000 less than its asking price.

And despite extensive publicity, two of 2014's premier offerings failed to sell at auction. Century Oaks, a legendary Clearwater estate, is off the market, at least temporarily. The Avila mansion of former Tampa Bay Rays owner Vince Naimoli has been slashed in price from $14 million to $5.5 million.

Be patient, Richardson advises.

"You put either one of those in Miami and they'd be gone in a heartbeat. I don't think we've reached the level where some of the very high-end properties will get the numbers they would in other markets. We're the best value in the luxury market in all of Florida."

Here are snapshots of the priciest bay area mansions sold in 2014.

Belleair Beach

Price: $6.7 million

Buyers: Joel and Lisa Marion

Basics: 11,945 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 full baths, 2 half baths

Joel Marion is a bodybuilder, fitness coach and author who has been featured on TV and in numerous magazines. The house, modeled after a European estate, has an exercise room and French doors opening to several covered terraces overlooking the pool and Intracoastal Waterway.

Avila, Tampa

Price: $5.58 million

Buyer: 706 Guisando LLC (Darcie Glazer Kassewitz of the family that owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Basics: 28,893 square feet, 10 bedrooms, 10 full baths, 3 half baths

Built by former gold dealer Mark Yaffe, this Jacobean-style palace on a golf course was taken back by the lender at a foreclosure auction. Originally listed at $25 million, it sold in November for $193 per square foot, by far the lowest of any of last year's top 10 most expensive homes.

Dickman Island, Ruskin

Price: $5.55 million

Buyer: Unique Sales Enterprise, Pontiac, Mich.

Basics: 6,619 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 2 half baths

Named for a prominent family of farmers and developers in the Ruskin-Apollo Beach area, the 212-acre Dickman Island is the site of three mansions including this contemporary, cedar-accented home. Although the house was purchased under a company name, the $3.885 million mortgage was signed by Matthew Woodburn and Terry Woodburn of Woodburn Inc., a Michigan-based heat-treatment company that serves the auto industry.

Davis Islands, Tampa

Price: $4.9 million

Buyer: John T. Keiser and Pamela Keiser, trustees

Basics: 10,347 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 4 half baths

Sold by former Tampa Bay Rays infielder Tino Martinez, this home on Hillsborough Bay has water views from almost every room. Keiser owns EnviroTek, a Tampa-based environmental and construction services company.

Davis Islands, Tampa

Price: $4.85 million

Buyer: David L. Koche as trustee of the 310 Blanca Lane Residential Trust

Basics: 7,467 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 2 half baths

The house, with Tampa lawyer Koche as trustee, sits on nearly an acre of waterfront land and has an elevator, a five-car garage and a 50-foot saltwater pool.

Davis Islands, Tampa

Price: $4.6 million

Buyer: Anne Marie Castenfelt

Basics: 7,018 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 1 half bath

Castenfelt, from Atlanta, is the first owner of this waterfront pool home, built on spec in 2013 by Hughes Construction with a covered loggia and summer kitchen area.

Davis Islands, Tampa

Price: $4.3 million

Buyers: Bradley J. and Kristi M. Resch

Basics: 7,019 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 1 half bath

Bradley J. Resch is former president of Gulfeagle Supply, a Tampa-based roofing and building materials firm started by his father and grown to more than 55 locations nationwide. The gated estate, built in 1927, is one of four original Davis Islands designs.

Snell Isle, St. Petersburg

Price: $3.64 million

Buyer: Gerald A. Poch

Basics: 5,608 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, 1 half bath

Records show that Poch, a lawyer and owner of this Tuscan-style mansion on Tampa Bay, has been in the broadcasting and capital management businesses.

Tampa Palms

Price: $3.475 million

Buyer: Maryann Smith

Basics: 10,146 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, 2 half baths

Smith, wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith, paid $500,000 less than the asking price for this Mediterranean-style estate, one of just four homes in the most exclusive gated area of Tampa Palms.

Redington Beach

Price: $3.4 million

Buyer: William R. Thompson

Basics: 5,100 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, 1 half bath

This gulffront home last sold in 2011 for $3.5 million and hit the market a year ago at $4.1 million. Bought by a banker from Arkansas, it came with all furnishings including a 70-inch TV and leather seating in the media room.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.