Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Furry Valentine

My Furry Valentine will be held at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel on February 11, 2012 from 10 AM to 3 PM when different local animal rescues will come together for a huge pet adoption event with hundreds of adoptable animals.  There will be a wide variety of puppy & adult dog breeds from little Chihuahuas to Great Pyrenees and Heinz 57, as well as kittens and cats! 

While adoption is the main focus there also will be a Pet Photo contest, with 3 different categories:
  1. Show Me the Love, Best Photo featuring you and your pet
  2. Bring on the Love, Most Loveable Photo featuring your pet
  3. Give Me the Love, Best Valentine’s Day Card featuring your pet.
Each photo may only be entered in one category and photos and cards can be done in advance, but can only be entered at the event from 10 to 2 the day of the event. There are 3 winners per category:  1st Place: $100 Gift Card, 2nd Place: $50 Gift Card, 3rd: Place: $25 Gift Card, for the Shops at Wiregrass. Winners will be announced at 3 PM. 

Doggie Fun Zone will be there for everyone's entertainment with a doggie obstacle course that I know my dog would love.  See promo video below:

While there is a fee to enter, the Shops at Wiregrass will be giving a gift card to the top 3 fastest runs of the day, as well as for the slowest.

There will be many different pet related vendors there and the event also has fun for the kids including a bounce house, cotton candy, and face painting.  Additionally, roses will be on sale with proceeds benefitting a local animal rescue.

If you are a pet lover, this looks like an event that you shouldn't miss!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mercedes Homes ending operations

Mercedes Homes has announced that it is ending operations, two years after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Florida Today reports that the home builder plans "to cease operations after its contracts for new homes are satisfied, though no exact timeline was provided".  The builder has had presence in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area for many years.

Full story

Friday, January 27, 2012

Survey says...

The Florida Association of Realtors ® has released the following findings from a nationwide survey of American voters by the National Association of Home Builders:

  • 73% oppose eliminating the mortgage interest deduction  (77% of Republicans & 71% of Democrats)
  • 74% said that despite ups and downs in the housing market, owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make.
  • 78% of respondents said that owning their own home is very important to them.
  • 68% of respondents who are not currently homeowners said that buying a home was a goal.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Speed painter to perform at Suncoast Arts Fest

Performance speed painter Tim Decker will return to the Suncoast Arts Fest this weekend and perform his unusual form of painting on a large canvas to upbeat music!  (Tim Decker is a performance painter who paints celebrity and patriotic portraits live to music in roughly 5 minutes.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tampa Bay home sales looking up

Today the Tampa Bay Times reports that " the worst may be over for Tampa Bay's housing market and that experts are optimistic that Tampa Bay's housing market may have turned the corner". This is based on several key indicators:
  • The median price of a single family home fell as low as $110,000 in January, 2011 and climbed steadily to $130,000 in August, without dropping below $120,000 since.
  • The conventional (normal) median sales price of homes rose to $157,000 in December, up $2,000 from November
  • There was a 19% increase in single family home sales in December over November, 2011
  • Almost 37,000 jobs have been added to Tampa Bay over the past year with the state unemployment declining, reaching a 2 1/2 year low point
  • New home construction jumped 19% in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the previous year
  • The inventory of homes for sale on the market has dropped to six months after years of higher levels
Full story from the Tampa Bay Times

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Suncoast Arts Fest this weekend at Wiregrass

Don't forget the Suncoast Arts Fest this weekend at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel!  Here are some photographs that I took at last year's Suncoast Arts Fest.  (It was fun to find the different chalk artists and watch them work too!)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Will the planned 1.3 million sq. ft. Cypress Creek Town Center be built as an outlet mall?

Cypress Creek Town Center (file copy)
We are all familiar with all the woes of the proposed 1.3 million sq. ft. Cypress Creek Town Center at SR 56 & I-75.  The mall was planned all the way back in 2006 and was supposed to be built the same time as The Shops at Wiregrass and the Grove, but was repeatedly delayed with lawsuits and permitting issues. 

Lately however there has been some good news for this planned mall.  Last November a federal court reversed a previous district court ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improperly examined the impacts to wetlands and waterways in granting the mall a permit, but it also found that the Corps and the developer must address the project's impact to the Eastern Indigo snake, a threatened species.

In today's Tampa Tribune, Richard Mullins reports that outlet mall builder, the Simon Property Group is planning an outlet mall in Tampa.  (No specific location has been announced, but Mullins writes a lot about The Cypress Creek Town Center location in the article.)  You also may recall that years ago another mall just north of Wesley Chapel,  with 2 million sq. ft  at SR 52 & I 75 was proposed;  "The Pasco Town Centre" was going to be an outlet mall.  Well, that mall never was built.

Since there already is an outlet mall 45 minutes south of Tampa in Ellenton, the Cypress Creek Town Center is a very likely location for the outlet mall.  If so, it could bring new discounted retail stores to our area such as:  Nike, Brooks Brothers, Levis, Kenneth Cole, & Saks.

Full Story

Record low mortgage rates!

Mortgage rates are at an all time low, but not everyone qualifies:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Banks probed for allegedly steering homeowners into more expensive insurance

Well, it seems that the big banks are now being investigated for some insurance shenanigans. The New York Times reports that Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are among the banks involved in an inquiry by the New York State's Department of Financial Services.

The Times reports that banks allegedly steered distressed homeowners into property insurance policies up to 10 times as costly as the homeowners' original plans. Additionally, kickbacks may have been involved between unrelated companies. Full story

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wesley Chapel BurgerMonger opening

The sign's up for the BurgerMonger at The Shoppes of New Tampa in Wesley Chapel!  This will be BurgerMonger's second location in Tampa and they plan to open the middle of February.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tampa Bay home prices predicted to rise in 2012!

After years of falling home prices, Tampa Bay has some good news with a 2012 prediction from Clear Capital, a California based valuation firm.  The four largest metro areas of Florida are predicted to show 2012 home price value increases; with Tampa ranking sixth in the nation for predicted home value increases:

While all four metropolitan Florida markets are predicted to show increases in values, Clear Capital predicted declines in values for other US markets:

Hartford -2.4%
Philadelphia -4.1%
Chicago -5.2%
Las Vegas -6.4%
Atlanta -14.4%

Monday, January 09, 2012

Less distressed home sales in New Tampa

Single family home sales for New Tampa (Zip code 33647) reported in our local MLS showed that "normal" sales (Not distressed) averaged 68% of the total sales for 2011.  Short Sales & REO/Foreclosures each made up 16% for a total distressed sales of 32% for 2011.  It should also be noted that normal sales showed higher monthly sales %'s in the second half of the year as reflected in the chart below:

In 2011 New Tampa had a significantly lower percentage of reported distressed sales of 32%, compared to the rest of Tampa.  52% of all reported single family home sales in Tampa (excluding New Tampa) for 2011 were "distressed" sales; 32% were REO's/Foreclosures; and 20% were Short Sales/Pre-foreclosures. *

Currently, 69% of the single family homes listed for sale in New Tampa are "normal sales", and 31% are distressed sales.

*Information reported in MLS deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Stewart to address Pasco Alliance of Community Associations on lake and pond management

The cost-effective and proper management of community-owned lakes and ponds will be detailed at the Thursday, Jan. 12, meeting of the Pasco Alliance of Community Associations (PACA). 
Speaker Tonja Stewart, a PACA member, will detail the management of the different types of community-owned ponds and lakes in Pasco County, and the best practices to comply with state and federal regulations and requirements affecting them.

Stewart is a senior project manager at Stantec Inc. and a Florida-registered professional engineer. She has more than 24 years of experience in a broad range of civil engineering projects.
The public is invited to attend the Jan. 12 meeting. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center, located at 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. (US 41), three miles north of SR 54.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Some Wesley Chapel communities more distressed than others

The above chart reflects the reported 2011 single family home sales by category for many of the larger communities in Wesley Chapel.  Green reflects the percentage of normal sales; red, REO/Foreclosures and Orange, Short Sales.

Distressed sales (Short Sales & REO/Foreclosures) made up a larger market share in Wesley Chapel in 2011 single family home sales than neighboring New Tampa.  Overall, 56% of the reported single family home sales in Wesley Chapel were distressed sales.  This compares to a substantially lower 32% in New Tampa. 

Currently 59% of the Wesley Chapel single family homes listed for sale in our MLS are normal sales, 34% are Short Sales, and 7% are REO/Foreclosures.
*Information in MLS deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Fresh market at Wiregrass this Saturday

Fresh market at Wiregrass this Saturday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

2011 Average Sales Price Per Sq. Ft. For New Tampa Homes

The following graph shows the reported single family homes' sold prices/sq. ft by month for 2011 in New Tampa, with a $93.21 yearly average sold price per square foot:

Currently in New Tampa there are over 250 single family homes listed for sale in our MLS with prices ranging from $110,000 for a two bedroom, two bathroom villa in Pebble Creek to $2,390,000 for a golf course pool home in Tampa Palms with over 9,000 sq. ft., and the average list price per sq. ft. is $106.96.
*Information reported in MLS deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel hiring update

On its Facebook page  Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel (the 80 bed hospital currently under construction), provided this recent status update:   "hiring for our new hospital will begin the first quarter of 2012. Please check back to our site or on this Facebook page at the end of January for information on job fairs and postings".  Website

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Wesley Chapel High Schools A Rated

Wiregrass Ranch High School file photo
The Florida Department of Education released the high school ratings today and Wiregrass Ranch High School and Wesley Chapel High School both received A ratings.  Congratulations to our teachers and students!

Florida Orchestra to perform in Wesley Chapel

On February 12, 2012 the Florida Orchestra will have a special presentation of a Night in the Tropics featuring Jazz Trumpet virtuoso Charles Lazarus and his Jazz Quartet at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel at 3:00 PM.   "A Night in the Tropics brings a breath of fresh air to the stage with music from Brazil, Hawaii, & Greece.  Maestro Stephan Sanderling and the Florida Orchestra are recognized as Tampa Bay's leading performing arts institution and one of the best orchestras in America. Guest Maestro Sarah Hicks joins Charles Lazarus and the Florida Orchestra for a fantastic night of swinging Tropical Jazz in an orchestral setting."

All seats are at a special $20.00 concert price!  Group seating prices available
Call 813-794-8772 to reserve your seats.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Room for almost everyone in sinkhole fraud

These days it seems like everyone is getting a piece of the action on sinkhole fraud with allegations that:
  • Homeowners file and collect huge claims and never make repairs
  • Collusion occurs among engineers and contractors
  • Contractors overbill property insurance companies for alleged work
  • Cement trucks leave repair sites nearly full
  • Inspecting engineers do not make on site inspections of work
  • Kickbacks are paid to homeowners by sinkhole repair contractors
To make things even worse, insurance companies deny claims; then get sued by homeowners.  Insurance companies are suing contractors; and even the Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution is investigating.  Every year it seems our state legislators "make improvements" in Florida laws to help the situation and we have gone from bad to worse.  What a mess!  Yet legislators in other states seemed to have been successful in navigating similar sinkhole issues.

The Tampa Bay Times started a series of reporting on the sinkhole debacle this week.  For the full articles in the Tampa Bay Times, see the following links:  link 1   link 2