BELLEAIR SHORE — “Million dollar” cities are on the rise across the nation, according to an analysis from Zillow. While the Tampa Bay area is home to just one of these cities, it’s one of the priciest.
The town of Belleair Shore is the ninth most expensive city in the country to live in, according to an analysis by Zillow. Homes within the Pinellas County beach town are worth about $4.97 million. Values grew by 22.8 percent last year.
The town founded in 1955 is far from a large city. In fact, it’s the smallest in Pinellas County with a population of just 73 people, according to 2020 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The city’s website states there are 57 properties on the mile-long stretch of waterfront land between Belleair Beach and Indian Rocks Beach.
“It’s an incredibly exclusive and private area,” said Realtor Andrea Hartmann with Keller Williams Luxury International. “There’s not really a public access to the waterfront unless you come in from the surrounding beaches.”
Hartmann listed a Belleair Shore bungalow, with four bedrooms and five bathrooms, at 280 Gulf Blvd., for $8.5 million on Jan. 27. On the same day, she said, it went under contract. Hartmann didn’t disclose how much the beachfront property — one of the last in the area with more than an acre of land — sold for since the sale hasn’t closed but said it was near the listing price.
“Most homes in Belleair Shore and around the beachfront are selling at around 100 percent of their list price,” Hartmann said, adding it’s been one of the best markets for luxury real estate in 20 years. “The beach is a limited resource. They’re not making anymore.”
Last year, home values appreciated at record rates and 146 cities in the U.S. became “million dollar” cities, where average home values are at least $1 million. There were more new million dollar cities in 2021 than the past six years combined, according to Zillow. Most of them were in coastal areas.
“The surge in demand for housing last year sent home values skyrocketing, even in places where prices already were sky high, and that helped tip a record number of cities into the million-dollar club,” Zillow senior economist Jeff Tucker said.
Tampa Bay’s luxury real estate market boomed last year. Yankees legend Derek Jeter’s Davis Islands home broke the local record when it sold for $22.5 million. The 10 most expensive homes sold last year sold for $8.2 million and above, according to Multiple Listing Service.
Florida has four of Zillow’s 10 most expensive cities in the U.S., including Belleair Shore. Indian Creek, the exclusive Miami-area island where former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen bought a home, is the most expensive in the nation by far with houses valued around $28 million. Jupiter Island and Golden Beach also made the list.
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The most new million dollar cities came from the San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles metro areas, “bust(ing) the myth” people fled California and the northeast, Tucker said.
There are 481 cities total in the U.S. where homes are worth at least $1 million, Zillow said. There could be nearly 50 more by the middle of the year if current trends continue.