Real Estate News for North Pinellas County

Archive for August, 2009

Clearwater’s Nicole Stott heads for the Space Station

Astronaut and Clearwater native Nicole Stott

Astronaut and Clearwater native Nicole Stott

This isn’t exactly a real estate story, but it very definitely is a Clearwater story that should make everyone in this part of the world proud.

At 1:36 a.m. tomorrow morning (that’s Tuesday), the space shuttle Discovery will launch from Florida’s Space Center, headed for the Space Station. On board will be Nicole Stott, a 46-year-old astronaut making her first space flight.

Plans are for her to spend around four months on the Space Station. 

Nicole is a Clearwater native who graduated from Clearwater High School and who attended St. Petersburg College. A lot of her Clearwater High School classmates will be heading over to the Space Center today and tonight to be on hand to witness the beginning of Nicole’s trip.

Nicole learned to fly in this area, and her father’s great love was building and flying experimental aircraft. She credits him with inspiring her astronaut career.

Ifr you are up at that hour, go outside and look to the heavens. We usually get a pretty good view of the space shuttle launches in these parts, especially at night. 

Bon voyage, Nicole!

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Real estate sales up nationally for fourth straight month

NAR logoThe National Association of Realtors says that national sales of existing homes rose in July, marking the fourth consecutive month of home sale increases.

That’s the good news, and it really is good news in a market as bad as this one has been.

 But here’s the not-so-good news; most of that increase can be traced to distressed properties – foreclosures and short sales.

Even so, any increase in home sales is a good thing, and this national trend noted by NAR seems to mirror what we have been seeing here in Tampa Bay – increasing numbers of home sales even as prices have continued a downward trend. Those lower prices have contributed to the uptick in sales, as have continuing good mortgage rates and the lure of that $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

That tax credit will come to and end at the end of November, and many observers are predicting a bit of a scramble as first-time buyers try to purchase homes before the deadline.

So the real estate market really looks like this: It’s a great time to buy if you qualify as a first-time homebuyer – prices are extremely attractive, mortgage rates are low, and there is a really attractive tax credit out there for the taking. It’s not so great for people who want to move up to a better home, or who have a home they need to sell.

There really is little activity in the middle- or upper ranges of the market except for those relatively rare cash buyers.