10/20/17 Real Estate
Hurricane Irma not only downed thousands of trees throughout the Tampa Bay area: It also sent home sales plunging in September.
Not since 2013 have year-over- year sales of single family homes dropped as much — nearly 20 percent for the metro area as a whole — and it was largely due to storm-related buyer wariness and delays in closings.
"It's definitely had an impact," Vince Cassidy, president of Majesty Title Services, said of the hurricane that skirted the bay area Sept. 10 but left tens of thousands without power for days....
10/17/17 Real Estate
The Clearwater lawyer accused of tricking a bidder into paying $458,100 for a gulf-front condo now plans to contest a judge's order tossing out the sale.
On Monday, attorney Roy C. Skelton's company Deutsche Residential Mortgage filed a notice of appeal with the Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland.
The action comes two months after Pinellas Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold vacated the sale of a North Redington Beach condo on which Deutsche held a mortgage because of what the judge called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" schemed to dupe bidders at a foreclosure auction....
10/13/17 Real Estate
CLEARWATER BEACH — On his first night out of Puerto Rico since Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the head of the island's housing finance agency reveled in an unfamiliar sight.
"It was so surreal; I was looking at lights in a city," said Luis Fernandez Trinchet, whose San Juan home has been without power since early September. "I thought, 'Am I here? Am I dreaming this?'''
Trinchet was among the speakers Friday at a panel on "Rebuild Puerto Rico,'' part of the National Minority Affordable Home Builders Summit at the Sheraton Sand Key. And what a rebuilding effort it will be, as 91 percent of the island's residents still have no electricity, 81 percent lack cell phone service and thousands are crowded in the 108 shelters that remain open for those with no homes to return to....
10/12/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — During the foreclosure crisis, a lot of investors made a lot of money off the misfortune of others. But few were as prolific as Jimmy Dean Chancey and his nephew, Michael Chancey.
Through a myriad of companies, the duo has acquired scores of houses in the Tampa Bay and Jacksonville areas for as little as $10 apiece. They got some at foreclosure auctions, others directly from desperate homeowners like Tarsha Santiago of Gibsonton. ...
10/10/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — Former Major League Baseball star Fred McGriff, one of the original players for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, has put his Tampa estate on the market for $3.495 million.
Custom-built for McGriff and his wife, Veronica, in the mid-1990s, the five-bedroom, six-bath home sits on nearly two acres fronting the golf course in the gated Avila community. The 11,768-square-foot house also has a gym, a game room and a four-car garage plus golf cart garage....
10/10/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — Have you ever paid close attention to the support piers of an elevated highway? Probably not, but the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority still wants your opinion on what some new ones should look like.
From now through Friday, Oct. 20, members of the public will be able to choose between two designs for the piers supporting the 1.9-mile extension of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway from South Dale Mabry Highway to the Gandy bridge. The winning design will be announced Oct. 23. ...
10/06/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's oldest and most historic homes has new owners but whether it will escape the bulldozer is still unclear.
Descendants of George "Gidge'' Gandy Jr. — who helped his father build the namesake cross-bay bridge — sold the century-old house Friday for $1.73 million. The deed has not yet been recorded and agent Natalie DeVicente would not disclose the names of the buyers but said they are locals who ''fell in love'' with the one-and-a-quarter acre waterfront property on Big Bayou....
10/05/17 Real Estate
The Tampa Bay area is increasingly a region of renters.
A decade after the housing crash, nearly 38 percent of bay area households are in rental properties, a new study shows. That compares to less than 30 percent in 2006, just before real estate values plunged and sent tens of thousands of Tampa Bay homes into foreclosure.
And many of those renters are unlikely to become homeowners anytime soon, according to New York University researchers. Almost 25 percent of bay area rental households are "severely rent-burdened'' — they spend more than half of their income on rent — and have scant resources left for food, health care and education let alone the down payment for a house....
10/05/17 Real Estate
Devotees of HGTV know Scott McGillivray as the hunky host of Income Property — that addictive show in which he helps homeowners convert their disgusting basements or unused space into sleek rental units producing enviable streams of cash.
A Toronto native who began buying and renovating houses while in college, McGillivray has a new show, Buyers Bootcamp, that teams him up with rookie investors. He and his crew have just started work on episodes to air next year: Half will be in upstate New York; the rest in Florida including Tampa Bay, Sarasota, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. ...
10/05/17 Real Estate
For those who like really big pieces of sports memorabilia, consider this: Lovie Smith's Tampa estate just hit the market at $4.8 million.
The six-bedroom, six-bath home of the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach sits on 13 acres in an enclave of just four estate properties in the gated Tampa Palms community. Built in 2002, the 10,146-square-foot house has his-and-her offices, a media room, a family room with a two-sided fireplace, a heated pool and spa and a putting green. Guest accommodations include a cabana/guest house with a kitchen and a "guest tower" suite. ...
10/04/17 Real Estate
Nearly 50 years after Congress passed the anti-discrimination Fair Housing Act, blacks, Latinos and other minorities are still far less likely than whites to own their homes. As of 2016, the home ownership rate for blacks was just 41 percent compared to almost 72 percent for whites, one study found.
That yawning gap is the spark behind the National Minority Affordable Home Builders Summit to be held next week (Oct. 12-13) in Clearwater. Nearly 200 builders, bankers, Realtors and affordable housing advocates will spend two days at the Sheraton Sand Key discussing ways to improve minority home ownership at a time when minorities make up the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population....
10/03/17 Real Estate
PINELLAS PARK — One of Tampa Bay's most popular flea markets is going the way of Life magazine, poodle skirts and Jadeite dinnerware.
The longtime owners of the 49er Flea Market sold it for $3.3 million late last month and expect to shut it down as of Nov. 30. The buyer, Horsepower Investments LLC of Port Charlotte, owns Harley-Davidson dealerships and will move its bay area store from St. Petersburg to the nearly 10-acre site on 10525 49th Street N....
ST. PETERSBURG — Among the first stories Wilbur Landrey covered as the St. Petersburg Times chief foreign correspondent was the 1976 earthquake in Guatemala that killed 23,000.
He and Times photographer Ric Ferro checked into a hotel that was "kind of tilting," Landrey later recalled. The next day, as he was writing a story, a severe aftershock hit and the table began to skid across the room....
09/28/17 Real Estate
To the difficulty of finding a house these days, add this factor: cash still talks.
Though not as common as during the foreclosure crisis, cash sales continue to make up a significant part of Tampa Bay's tight real estate market. That means buyers who have to borrow can be at a distinct disadvantage, especially those hunting for houses under $300,000.
"I have a customer in that price range and she says, 'I need to think about it,' and the next day it's been sold," said Ann Rogers, a Pinellas County Realtor. "It just creates a sense of urgency for buyers in that price point." ...
09/25/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.
Slated to join Bliss and Rowland Place on 4th are two more developments — The Bezu, a 24-unit tower close to Beach Drive, and 747 North, an 18-unit project several blocks to the west.
"The market is very hot these days and there's a lot of demand and not too much product on hand," Michel Regignano, director of development for the newly formed company Arclight, said Monday....