Tampa Bay home prices shoot up 11 percent, kicking off another strong year

Another year; another super start.

Prices for single-family homes in the Tampa Bay area jumped 11.4 percent in January from a year ago, far higher than the statewide average and the highest of any major Florida metro area.

The number of sales that closed last month also rose significantly — up 10 percent — in a sign that the robust market that began in early 2016 will continue.

“Florida’s housing market continues to show positive momentum,” said Maria Wells, president of Florida Realtors, which released the figures Wednesday. “While existing inventory remains tight, Realtors across the state are reporting interest from both buyers and sellers — and with interest rates expected to rise over the next few months, now is certainly a good time to take action.”

The median price for a Tampa Bay house in January hit $194,990, nearly $20,000 more than the median a year ago. Pasco showed the biggest gain, up an astounding 24.2 percent to $177,000 as more and more buyers opt for homes in booming south-county areas like Wesley Chapel.

Next was Hernando, up almost 12 percent to a median of $138,700, followed by Pinellas, up almost 11 percent to a median of $215,000 and Hillsborough, up 7.7 percent to a median of $210,000.

Hillsborough had January’s priciest sale, an 8,000-square foot bayfront home on Davis Islands that went for $6.275 million. The seller was the former daughter-in-law of late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

In Pinellas, a couple from Britain paid $3.125 million for a 1920s Italianate estate with bay views in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast neighborhood.

“It has tremendous architectural detail,” said listing and selling agent Alona Dishy of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. “With these unique houses in certain price ranges, once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s nothing else like it.”

Prices in and around downtown St. Petersburg have continued to escalate to the point Realtor Bonnie Strickland recently posted a YouTube video in which she posed a question to three members of her Strickland Property Group: Is the St. Petersburg market in a bubble? Last year, Strickland had $100 million in sales, much of it on Snell Isle where buyers have paid seven-figure sums to knock down houses and build bigger new ones.

“I don’t think we’re in a bubble. It’s nothing like 2005 and 2006 simply because the appraisal and loan process is so much more stringent than it’s ever been,” Strickland broker associate Jim DiMartino says on the video. “Just try to refinance your home and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.”

Another Strickland member, Niel Allen, says the level of speculation is not as high as it was during the last boom.

As a result, that “gives us much more sustainable levels of growth year over year as far as price increases,” he said.

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John William is a cum laude graduate of the University of Miami, and has spent his lifetime in sales and marketing. The fourth generation to join his family business, John William manages all luxury residential sales and transactions within the Tampa Bay and South Florida markets. A keen industry insider with a finger on the pulse of the area, He is an expert identifying high-return acquisition and development opportunities for hungry investors both large and small while simultaneously working with homeowners and homebuyers to buy and sell the home of their dreams… often times without the need of the MLS or a For Sale sign. He also oversees all digital and print marketing for the company, and handles all sales training for new and established agents alike. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Brookwood Florida, the oldest charity in Florida, and works to raise millions of dollars annually for local charities and museums.