Real Estate News for North Pinellas County

Archive for the 'pinellas county' Category

Pinellas County real estate: Demand UP, supply DOWN

If you are thinking about BUYING a home in Pinellas County, or if you are thinking about SELLING your home, here are a couple of very important things you need to know:

  • Sales are UP. A lot.
  • Listing inventory is DOWN.

Closed sales in April 2015 were 2,103, up almost 20 percent over April in 2014 (1756). At the same time, listing inventory for the same month was 7,566 units — DOWN 1.5 percent.

What does that mean? Well, it means a couple of things.  First, more buyers are chasing fewer available homes. And when demand exceeds supply like that, it pushes prices UP. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Pinellas County right now.

I have buyers right now who are frustrated because the houses they want to buy are simply not on the market.

So I have a couple of things to tell you: If you are a buyer, prices are going to be higher than they are right now. And if you are a seller, or a potential seller, this is a great time to get your home on the market. There’s a buyer out there right now who is ready to make you an offer.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Dunedin Farmers Market coming to a close for the season

FullSizeRender (1)There’s a lot of farmers markets around Pinellas County, but my favorite is the one in Dunedin. I stopped by there this morning and I bought a couple of things — a small block of New York cheddar cheese (my husband is a BIG cheese fan) and a bottle of tart cherry concentrate which I’ll use in my morning protein shake.

IMG_0761The best thing about the farmer’s market, however, is just walking around and looking at the offerings — fresh baked bread, various pet products, Thai food products, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh eggs from free range chickens, and a bunch of other things. It’s a great way to spend a little time on a Saturday morning. (They’re open on Fridays, too.) It’s in Pioneer Park in downtown Dunedin.

If you’ve been thinking about stopping by there, make sure you go next weekend, because its the last Farmers Market of the season.  It won’t be open again until November.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0765

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Come out and have some fun at the Dunedin Orange Festival

If you are looking for something to do this weekend – AFTER the fourth of July celebrations – think about coming by the Dunedin Orange Festival Saturday, June 6 in Dunedin’s Edgewater Waterfront Park, which is right next door to the Dunedin Marina in downtown Dunedin.

dunedin orange festival This should be a fun day, with music and entertaining events of all kinds taking place from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Various musical acts will be on stage continuously, and there will be plenty of activities for kids. The mojo cookoff will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will feature pork dishes of all kinds. Dunedin is a restaurant mecca, and a bunch of the town’s best will take part in the competition – Flanagan’s, Kelly’s, SeaSea Riders, Serendipity Café, The Livingroom Smokehouse, Margueritte’s and Broadway Deli.

The public will be the judge of the cookoff, in exchange for a $10 ticket.

There is lot’s more to see and do, so come on out! Check out all the details at http://dunedinorangefestival.com/festival-details-dunedin-orange-festival.htm

Things I love about Pinellas County, and Florida in general

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which season it is in Florida, because it’s always warm. The only difference is DEGREES of warm.

So I have learned to watch for seasonal cues – like the arrival of Plant City strawberries, which tells me it is February, and I get to consume luscious berries while folks in other parts of the country stoke their woodstoves.

And that brings me to the Jacaranda tree.

Jacaranda tree

Jacaranda tree

Spotting these violet beauties in the Tampa Bay area means it is spring, so it is likely April or May.

The Jacaranda is native to South America. But since it likes bright sunny conditions and sandy soil, it is  right at home in Florida.

And that, my friends, is another thing I like about Florida!

Pinellas County real estate becomes a sellers’ market

 

 

Here’s a recent development in real estate that I don’t think too many people would have predicted: In recent weeks, we’ve sort of quietly shifted from a buyers’ market to a seller’s market.

 That’s right, buyers are having to scramble to get good, solid, timely offers in on the homes they really want to buy. If they don’t, POOF! The house is gone to someone with quicker reflexes.

sold sign And this shift does not just apply to Pinellas County homes; it’s a phenomenon that’s being noticed across the country. The WALL STREET JOURNAL even wrote about it today.

 According to the JOURNAL, buyers are increasingly competing for homes, and even entering into bidding wars. I haven’t seen anything that I would describe as bidding wars locally, but I have had several buyers submitting offers above the asking price, knowing that the house of their dreams won’t stay on the market.

 According to the JOURNAL (and my own sense of what’s going on locally), this sellers’ market is not so much about increasing numbers of sales – it’s more about a lack of good, desirable properties on the market.

 It makes sense when you think about it. Sellers keep their homes off the market because of declining values. If someone owes $300,000 on a home that is now worth $200,000, why put it on the market if you don’t have to?

 And we are now about six years into the housing slump, which means a lot of homes that would have been sold in a more normal market have simply never been listed.

 And there’s another reason, too. Lenders have been extremely slow to put their foreclosed properties on the market. There’s plenty of foreclosed-upon, unoccupied homes out there, in this market and most others, but the lender-owners seem to fear more value declines if they put all those properties on the market.

 It’s a strange market, no doubt. But it is a market with many great opportunities, for buyers and sellers alike.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Walking in Pinellas County is enjoyable, but not highly rated by some

It’s funny; before we moved to Florida we lived in Bath, Maine, a quaint and attractive small city on the Kennebec River. While Bath was scenic and pleasant, I almost never walked anywhere when I lived there.

There were two reasons: (1) Much of the time it was REALLY cold, and (2) it was very hilly. Walking down the hills wasn’t so bad, but walking back UP was no picnic.

walking shoesWhen we moved to Florida, I was delighted to be able to increase my walking. It was always warm (okay, maybe TOO warm in the summer, but you can always walk in the early mornings, before the toasty factor gets too high), and the nearly flat terrain means none of those challenging grades.

Since I find walking to be much more enjoyable here than up north, I was a bit surprised to find a website devoted to the “walkability” of various communities, and to note that our area of Florida, Pinellas County, and more specifically Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs, were rated pretty low on the walking scale.

Even more surprising was that cold, hilly Bath, Maine was rated very highly by this website, www.walkscore.com. Here are the scores:

Bath, Maine: 78 (out of a hundred), “very walkable”

Palm Harbor: 37, car-dependent

Dunedin: 45, car-dependent

Tarpon Springs: 38: Car-dependent

Okay, I actually get this. Our Florida communities are relatively young and they are spread out all over the place. Many lack a real central downtown, and you do need a car to get around and run errands. Bath, Maine (and other up-north older cities) are old, and many were established on the banks of rivers. They were centrally laid-out, as automobiles weren’t even around when they were founded.

Still, if you want my opinion, I’d rather walk right here in Florida. Walking in Maine? No, thanks — especially in January.

By the way, Walkscore.com says it “helps you find a walkable place to live. Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Planning on buying a Pinellas County home? We may be seeing the end of historically low mortgage interest rates

 intderest rate artMortgage rates are still extremely attractive and at or near historic lows. But we may have seen the bottom; the economy is getting better on a number of fronts, and the low interest rates have been as reflection of the weak economy.

 If things get better economically, rates will rise.

 Here are a few factors that indicate the economic picture is starting to brighten:

 RETAIL SALES ARE GOING UP: Retail sales make up about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, so it is a very important factor when trying to predict the nation’s economic future. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, retail sales went up to $335 billion in February, an all-time high and the 19th month out the last 20 to record an increase in retail sales.

 NEW JOBS ARE BEING CREATED: People have to have jobs if they are going to be able to make mortgage payments.  In the past five months, more than a million jobs have been created.

 MANUFACTURING, BUSINESS INVESTMENT, CONSUMER CONFIDENCE UP: All of these categories need to improve if an economic recovery is to take place. And all three of them are improving.

 THE FED IS CONFIDENT: The Fed takes steps to keep interest rates low when the economy is suffering. The Fed takes NO action when the economy is doing well or heading in the right direction. The Fed is saying that a recovery is underway and that it is happening faster than expected; that means that further Fed intervention in interest rates is unlikely. And THAT means that interest rates are likely to rise.

 Rates are still good. But they may not be REALLY good for very long if all these trends continue.

 Want to know the best steps for taking advantage of still-low interest rates? Get in touch and we’ll talk about what you want to accomplish – 727-643-7100 or [email protected].

Tags: , , , ,

Food truck fun in Safety Harbor

Food trucks line Main Street in Safety Harbor

Food trucks line Main Street in Safety Harbor

As I’ve said on this blog many times, there’s always something to do in North Pinellas County, or in all of Tampa Bay, for that matter.  Local residents love to get outside and enjoy the warm sunshine, and the local organizations and communities know that and plan all sorts of activities throughout the year.

This past weekend, Bill and I drove over the Safety Harbor to check out that town’s first-ever Food Truck Rally. About a dozen different food trucks were on hand, offering everything from barbecue to doughnuts to Korean food items.

truck lunches 1

Ordering up snacks at the Korean food truck

The city blocked off a couple of blocks on Main Street so folks could enjoy strolling from truck to truck without the danger of passing cars.

We sampled a number of items and really enjoyed it. We also enjoyed some live music.

This food truck idea has been held in a number of different local communities and they are pretty popular. There has been a little friction about some of these events – some local restauranteurs have objected to food trucks coming in and allegedly stealing away some business from local restaurants. But in this case, local Safety Harbor businesses were “in the loop” and helped with the planning of the events. If there were any objections, I didn’t hear about them.
“The idea is not to compete with our local restaurants, but to enhance our active community and get them downtown on a Saturday afternoon,” Joe Cooper, Special Events Supervisor for the city, said before the event. “We also hope to bring in new faces to the city that will come out and enjoy our shops, restaurants and pubs.”

These food truck events are becoming more popular. We’re looking forward to the next one.

x

Don't know the story of this bike, but its color brightens up Main Street
Don’t know the story of this bike, but its color brightens up Main Street

x

That new Pinellas County home just got more affordable, thanks to historically low interest rates

     What is it with interest rates? They just seem to get lower and lower. Today’s rates are at historic lows. Is that stimulating home sales? It doesn’t seem so – not that much, anyway.
 intderest rate art    How low are interest rates? Right now they are as low as 3.90 percent, or even a bit lower. Last year at this time the average rates for a conventional 30-year mortgage loan were a little over 5 percent, and we thought that was breathtakingly low.
     It is the lowest that interest rates have ever been in this country.
     Just for comparison, rates four years ago were around 7 percent, and we thought that was pretty darn good.
     So, should you actually consider refinancing if you bought your house a year ago? Maybe so.
     Let’s say you bought your house last February, and you financed $200,000 at 5.05 percent. That would make your principal and interest payment $1,079.76.
     Refinance that same $200,000 amount now at 3.87 percent, and your principal and interest payment would drop to $939.90. That’s a monthly saving of $139.86, or 13 percent. Not bad.
     I spent many years in the mortgage business, before I returned to my first love, real estate sales. I know a lot about the ins and outs of home financing. If you have questions about your plans for buying and financing a home, get in touch and we’ll talk – 727-643-7100, or [email protected] .

Tags: , , , , , ,

You otter live in Dunedin!

You probably know by now that I like Florida’s birds, and I can’t help taking pictures of birds of all types when I come across them in my travels throughout Pinellas County.

But birds aren’t the only wildlife you are apt to see when you drive through Palm Harbor, Oldsmar, Dunedin or other parts of Pinellas County.

otters SMALL 1

This morning I was in a Dunedin neighborhood, and I noticed some loud splashing in a creek that ran behind some houses near the Dunedin Community Center. I walked over to investigate, and saw two otters frolicking in the water.

After I watched them for a few minutes, I realized there were more than just two — there were four in all, splashing in the creek and then chasing each other around one of the backyards.

There’s all kinds of wildlife in Pinellas County, and you usually don’t have to travel very far to find them.

Tags: , , , , ,