The market in Tampa and St. Pete is steadily returning to normal.
By Jessica Decina
With winter’s chill descending upon the northern regions of the U.S., it is no surprise that Tampa and St. Petersburg are gaining appeal.
“We’re entering our busy market right now,” affirms Frank Malowany of The Malowany Group at Smith & Associates Real Estate, who holds the record for the highest sale ever in Pinellas County — $10.3 million in 2008. “Feedback we’re getting from buyers and activity has been pretty phenomenal in the last few weeks.”
Of course, it’s not just warm weather that attracts buyers to the regions, according to Malowany. He notes that St. Petersburg in particular experienced “a price adjustment, just like the rest of the country,” and that buyers are paying anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million less for a home in the high-end.
“In the luxury home market, I would say $1 million would represent a home that was $1.5 million. People have realized the prices have pretty much plateaued,” he says.
Malowany has seen a significant increase in a younger buyer, with the area’s median age around 40, he says. This, and an attractive nightlife, has created “tremendous activity” in the downtown corridor.
“If you came out [on] a Tuesday night, you’d be pleasantly surprised. If you came out on a Friday you wouldn’t find parking. It’s really phenomenal,” he says.
Toni Everett of The Toni Everett Company sees a lot of buyers taking advantage of the numerous activities that Tampa has to offer.
“We have one of the longest waterfront sidewalks in the world with biking, skating and running. You can also walk, ride or river taxi to the aquarium, retail shops, movies, restaurants, hockey games, outdoor and indoor concerts and museums,” she says.
As for what 2011 will hold, Malowany is confident that the Tampa and St. Petersburg markets will slowly and steadily return to normal.
Mike Green of Michael Green and Associates agrees, noting that current statistics point to a buyer’s market. Green pointed out that the inventory of luxury homes in the area piqued in October 2010, a sign of a stabilizing environment.
“This declining inventory of upper-quartile homes signals a strengthening buyer demand that is historically accompanied by more stable real estate prices,” he says. “Many of the million-dollar-plus luxury homes that were previously involved in distress sales and accompanying substantial price reductions have been greatly alleviated from the market.”
We asked our experts for even more perspective on the Tampa Bay and St. Pete luxury markets. Here’s what they had to say:
“If you compare our waterfront and beachfront properties, for a metropolitan area, you cannot find a better price point. The pricing here is much more competitive than in other metro areas for what we have to offer on the water and the beach. People are becoming more sensitive about what they’re spending and what they’re getting.”
—Frank Malowany, Smith & Associates Real Estate
“Numerous luxury real estate buyers seeking high-demand waterfront locations have been studiously watching the local Tampa Bay luxury waterfront market for some time, and now believe that it has finally reached its lowest range. Greatly increased real estate showing activity, offers and contracts tend to confirm the positive outlook for 2011.”
— Mike Green, Michael Green and Associates
“The condominiums that were on the water are selling slowly but steadily, even those in buildings that had units left or were not finished at the time of the economic crash started in Tampa. The high-end, special, one-of-a-kind homes have sold in the $5- to $6-million ranges and lots of $2 million and under have sold as well. While I think the price market will remain the same in the high end, it will be years before you see the increase and craziness of 2005.”
—Toni Everett, The Toni Everett Company