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Bay Area Home Prices & Sales on the Rise in January

TAMPA — Tampa Bay area housing sales climbed nearly 6.5 percent in January from a year ago, an increase likely due, at least in part, to a particularly cold winter in the northeast and the rising cost of renting.

Florida Realtors, which released its monthly report on Monday, noted that Florida’s housing market showed higher median prices, more new listings and a continuing stabilization of inventory in January, compared to 2014.

Throughout Florida, single-family home sales were up 10 percent in January, year over year. In Hillsborough County, 969 single family homes were sold, up 6 percent over 2014. And in Pinellas County, home sales were up 11.9 percent with 782 sales.

The statewide median home price was up 7.4 percent from the previous year, according to the Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department, which works with local Realtor boards and associates to compile the numbers.

 

In Hillsborough County, the median price for a home was up 3.2 percent over 2014. The median home price in Pinellas County in January rose 7.9 percent.

“Home price gains in areas across Florida mean that home equity continues to improve and that, coupled with historically low interest rates, generates a great opportunity for sellers,” said 2015 Florida Realtors President Andrew Barbar, a broker with Keller Williams Realty Services in Boca Raton.

“Many homeowners who have been on the sidelines are now ready to list their properties for sale,” Barbar said. “Statewide, new listings for single-famly homes in January rose 7.9 percent year over year while new townhouse-condo listings rose 1 percent.”

Pinellas County bucked the downward trend on townhouse and condo sales, with numbers up 21.6 percent in January, compared to a year ago.

“When looking year-over-year, January 2015 was the best January since the Great Recession” for Pinellas County real estate, said David Bennett, president and CEO for Pinellas Realtor Organization. There, real estate agents continue to see increased demand.

“Last month, at the urging of the National Association of Realtors, the White House announced mortgage insurance premiums would go down almost $1,000 per year for FHA borrowers,” Bennett said. “Also, in Florida, home ownership continues to be a cheaper alternative to renting with rents outpacing overall monthly home ownership costs.”

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