Susan Taylor Martin, Real Estate Reporter

Susan Taylor Martin

Real Estate Reporter

Call me a nosy neighbor. I’ve always liked checking out Sunday open houses, especially houses for sale around my area of St. Petersburg. And I’m a huge fan of HGTV shows like “Flip or Flop’’ and “House Hunters.’’ Maybe that’s why why I ended up four years ago as the Tampa Bay Times real estate reporter. It’s a great job, especially now that the market is hot. But there’s a lot more to real estate than pretty (or not so pretty) houses. I’ve reported on a good number of scams and the colorful characters behind them, including one fellow that my stories have sent to federal prison - twice! In my off-hours, I like to travel (was a foreign correspondent for 12 years), figure skate, hit garage and estate sales, read and check out new restaurants. I’m probably one of the few people who remember when downtown St. Pete had only four restaurants — the lunch counters at Maas Bros. and Woolworth’s plus Aunt Hattie’s and Uncle Ed’s. Alas, Aunt Hattie’s closed in the early ‘80s after a rat ran over a restaurant critic’s foot.

Canadians are buying homes in Tampa Bay, but so are Icelanders, Turks and Finns

A buyer from Finland paid $187,000 in October for a unit in this Tampa condo complex. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
An uptick in foreign buyers has Tampa Bay bucking a trend of declining investment in Florida from overseas.

Laser Spine Institute founder James St. Louis’ Belleair estate heads to auction

The Belleair estate of Dr. James St. Louis, a founder of Laser Spine Institute (Courtesy of Interluxe)
The home of Dr. James St. Louis has been on the market for nearly nine years priced as high as $14.4 million.

Historic McCrory Building in downtown St. Pete sold

The McCrory Building in downtown St. Petersburg now houses several restaurants and other businesses. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]
The historic building once housed a five-and-dime store.

Tampa Bay renters are paying more for less space

Apartments for rent in downtown St. Petersburg. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]
A typical Tampa Bay renter has to give up 300 square feet of space to have the same monthly payment as five years ago.

St. Pete panel approves partial historic designation for the Doc Webb house

In a compromise intended to preserve the former home of James E. “Doc’’ Webb, the carport on the left would be removed. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]
The Community Planning & Preservation Commission voted to designate only the Doc Webb house as a historic landmark.