Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck Visits New Tampa

Last year the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile visited us.  Today the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will be at the New Tampa Walmart on BBD from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Description:               A 48-foot long flatbed trailer featuring a 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall “Idaho® potato” specially “cultivated” in honor of the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary year in 2012.

Purpose:                    To raise awareness about the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary and invite fans to join in celebrating America’s favorite potatoes.

Wow Numbers:          * The Great Big Idaho® Potato would take more than 10,000 years to grow.

* The Great Big Idaho® Potato weighs six tons (12,130 pounds), which is equal to 32,346 medium-sized Idaho® potatoes.

* The Great Big Idaho® Potato is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds.

* The Great Big Idaho® Potato would take 2 years and 9 months to bake.

* It could make more than 1.4 million (1,455,570) average-sized fries!

* Pass the gravy! The Great Big Idaho® Potato would make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes.

If you didn't make it to New Tampa's Walmart to see it this morning, the Great Big Potato Truck will be at the Sweetbay at 4317 Gandy Blvd. today from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Donate to Meals on Wheels

Monday, June 25, 2012

Real Estate Appraisers pressured to keep rising home values low

While we are seeing multiple offers on many homes on the market and offers above list prices, ultimately we realtors are keenly aware that the home must still appraise at or above the agreed upon sales price in order to get funding from the buyer's lender.

The National Association of Realtors reports that 33% of realtors reported appraisal problems in May.  So what's behind this issue?  Kenneth R. Harney reports that appraisers are reluctant to report local appreciation in values.  Former Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board chairman, Frank Gregoire says "many appraisers are reluctant to make the upward adjustments they know to be justified because they fear criticism that they are potentially overvaluing the they take the easy way out and go with a lower valuation to avoid upsetting the hyper-cautious reviewers at the appraisal management companies". (and lender underwriters)

Harney's recent article reports that Joseph Petrowsky, an owner of a mortgage company says "too often valuations in upward-trending markets aren't catching up with the new values let alone a property that was involved in a bidding war".

This is killing many deals!

So, with a much smaller inventory of homes on the market; (especially those that are not short sales and in highest demand) many buyers are having to make offers on as many as three or four homes to get an accepted contract.  Often realtors are faced with suggesting higher than list price offers but are very concerned that the home appraise at the agreed upon sales price.  Let's hope that the problem with appraisals biased on the low value side is something that will not continue much longer.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Median sales prices for single family homes have risen 8%

The Greater Tampa Association of Realtors reports that median sales prices for single family homes have risen 8 percent from last year to $143,000.  Additionally, homes are on the market an average of only 41 days compared to 67 days a year ago and the inventory of homes on the market has dropped 34% over the last year. 

Search homes for sale

I scream, you scream, we all scream for iCream in Wesley Chapel

iCream, the coolest high tech ice cream parlor you ever have been to opens at 11:00 AM today (June 22, 2012) in Wesley Chapel. Once you select your flavor, color, and ingredient choices, the ice cream is made to order in a few minutes with the use of computers while you watch and the billowing clouds from the liquid nitrogen used in the process make it look like a mad scientist experiment.  You and the kids will be fascinated!

iCream founder, Cora Shaw is here from Chicago for the opening and says that there are over 3 million flavor/ingredient combinations!  If you haven't seen the iCream video in my previous post, it's worth checking out too before you go.  iCream is located on BBD across from Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, just north of The Shops at Wiregrass.  (Think about ordering "That Guy From Florida", which has white chocolate, cream soda and nutella.)  Phone: 813.388.6898

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Inventory of homes for sale at lowest level in five years

CoreLogic’s June report on home sales finds that the level of unsold inventory in the US hit its lowest point in five years!

CoreLogic's analysts say negative equity has become a positive force in the real estate marketing. Homeowners who owe more on the mortgage than the currently value of their home choose not to sell right now. That has increased selling prices by limiting the number of homes on the market.

• The Home Price Index (HPI), including distressed sales, posted two consecutive months of year-over-year increases in April 2012 – the first such increase since the summer of 2010 when the housing market was benefitting from tax credits.

• Single-family construction activity increased 2.3 percent in April, and it’s up 25 percent over the last six months.

• Months’ supply of unsold homes fell to just more than six months in April 2012 and is currently at the lowest level in more than five years.

• As the flow of REOs has slowed over the last 18 months, negative equity has become a positive force in real estate markets by restricting supply in the face of increasing demand.

• The housing market has transitioned to one of restricted supply, which will likely exist for some time to come – a reason for optimism in many hard hit markets.

Link to June CoreLogic MarketPulse report.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater has steepest decline in homes for sale in Florida

The Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater metro area had the seventh greatest decline in US residential* inventory for sale in May, 2012 compared to a year ago according to, with a -39.76% decline in inventory.   This compares to a -20.07% average decline for the US.  The Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater metro area had the greatest inventory decline in all Florida metro areas.

Additionally, reports that the median list price of homes in the Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater area increased 11.11% from a year ago compared to 3.17% nationally.

The inventory decline in our metro area is creating bidding wars on listings and buyers are shocked to find themselves in a very different market than they were expecting.  (See my blog post from yesterday for additional info regarding the reasons for the low inventory.)

*Single family homes, condominiums, townhouses, and co-ops.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Top 5 reasons why more homes aren't for sale creating a tight real estate inventory

There are several factors causing the low inventory of single family homes for sale in today's market forcing many homebuyers to get in line to buy a home:

1. Many homeowners are underwater (have negative equity) and don't qualify for a hardship short sale so can't afford to sell their homes.

2. There is a large number of short sale homes "under contract" waiting (and waiting) for an answer from the Sellers' lender(s).  These long delays caused by sellers' lenders clog up the pipeline as the homes languish in short sale purgatory.  For example, a recent analysis of single family homes under contract in Wesley Chapel, revealed 195 short sale single family homes under contract and only an average of 17 short sale Wesley Chapel homes closed (SOLD) per month in 2012.   (In 2012 an average of 40 single family homes closed per month in Wesley Chapel that weren't Short Sales and there are only 85 under contract.)

3. Many homeowners who are not underwater choose not to sell in today's market due to low values. Low values are exacerbated by low and often times unreasonable appraisals not reflecting current values.

4. Tighter lending rules mean that some homeowners may not qualify for another mortgage after they sell, so they sit tight.

5. Due to the robo-signing debacle, the inventory of foreclosures on the market is very low. Look for this log jam to start clearing this summer.

There is a very low inventory of homes that are priced reasonably and NOT short sales (non pre-foreclosure homes that can close quickly and don't require 3rd party approval) so they are in very high demand. Multiple offers and bidding wars take them off the market FAST.  As a note, five out of the last six contracts I wrote on home purchases for buyers ended up with multiple offers on all the homes!  A number of these homes were on the market less than a day with offers above list price!

So, if you are interested in buying a home in the New Tampa or Wesley Chapel market, and want to close within less than 6 weeks, you may have to get in line to make an offer and move quickly with making aggressive offers!

If you would like to search single family homes for sale in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel, click on the provided links or give me a call (813-505-7460) to set you up with a custom e-mail home search.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Koizi to open in Tampa Palms

Koizi Endless Hibachi & Sushi Eatery hopes to open in a couple of weeks and is located in The Pointe at Tampa Palms (behind the Olive Garden on BBD in New Tampa),.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Thinking about buying or selling a home?  Here are some valuable tips from real estate expert Barbara Corcoran:


Friday, June 08, 2012

New Wesley Chapel outlet mall to generate 6,100 jobs

According to John Gallagher, Pasco County Administrator, the new outlet mall planned for Wesley Chapel at I-75 & SR 54/56, should employ 6,100 people and will generate nearly $24 million a year in sales and property taxes and more than $1.5 million in revenue for the school board.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Wesley Chapel poised to be Tampa Bay's major economic engine

What did Wesley Chapel single family homes sell for in May, 2012?

© Russ Perlowski

Sixty one Wesley Chapel single family homes were reported sold by our MLS* in May, 2012 with a reported average sales price of $183,972.  30 were "normal" sales, 21 were short sales, and 10 were foreclosures.  Currently 195 Short Sale homes are under contract in Wesley Chapel.  Wesley Chapel has closed (SOLD) an average of only 17 Short Sale single family homes per month from January-May, 2012 so unless Sellers' lenders change their ways dramatically, it looks like a LOT of those Short Sale buyers under contract are likely going to be disappointed!

Currently there are over 150 single family homes listed for sale in Wesley Chapel in our MLS.  Fortunately, only 45 are Short Sale homes, so buyers can avoid the dreaded short sale process if they choose so!

*Information reported in MLS deemed reliable but not guaranteed

Penny for Pasco topic of Pasco Alliance of Community Associations' meeting

The proposed extension of the “Penny for Pasco” tax that will be on the November ballot will be discussed at the Pasco Alliance of Community Associations' monthly meeting on Thursday, June 14.
Presenting the details on the proposed “Penny for Pasco” will be Michele Baker, Pasco County’s chief assistant county administrator. She has been involved in Pasco County government since 1993. Ms Baker has a bachelor of science degree from Florida International University and a masters of business administration from St. Leo University.

Following her presentation, Ms. Baker will take questions on “Penny for Pasco” from members and guests.

If approved by voters, the one percent “Penny for Pasco” tax is expected to generate more than $500 million in the ten-year period beginning in 2015. The current “Penny for Pasco” tax expires in 2014. Pasco government and schools would each continue to receive 45 percent of the proceeds under the extended tax, with the remaining 10 percent apportioned among the county’s six cities.

The public is invited to the meeting that begins at 7 p.m. at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center. It is located at 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. (US 41), three miles north of SR 54. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

New Tampa Real estate market report for June 2012

© Russ Perlowski
Our local MLS reported 79 single family homes sold in New Tampa (zip code 33647) in May with an average reported sales price of $241,613.  73% of the homes sold in the month were "normal" sales.  Distressed sales made up 27% of the sales with Short Sales at 18% and Foreclosures at 9% of the total sales for the month.  41% of the single family homes that sold in New Tampa in May, sold at list price or above!

Currently, there are 142 single family short sale homes under contract in New Tampa.  Considering that only 14 short sale New Tampa single family home contracts closed in May and we have averaged less than 12 per month in 2012, I predict there are going to be a lot of unhappy short sale "buyers" who are currently under contract.

The good news is there are over 300 New Tampa single family homes listed for sale in our MLS and only 62 are short sales with list prices beginning at $114,000 and going up to over $2 million!

Search homes for sale

Monday, June 04, 2012

New apartments under construction in New Tampa

Work advances on a 168 one and two bedroom unit apartment complex under construction on Regent Parks Dr. in the community of Pebble Creek in New Tampa.  Look for an October/November opening.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

HomeGoods coming to New Tampa

New Tampa HomeGoods
Sign next to Best Buy on BBD announcing HomeGoods is coming to New Tampa.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Three new Wesley Chapel restaurants to open in June: PDQ, Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, & iCream!

PDQ plans its official/grand opening for June 3rd.  (Don't tell anyone but their "soft opening" started yesterday.)  PDQ is located in front of Sams Club on SR 56.

Just around the corner on BBD across from Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, Baja Fresh Mexican Grill is now planning to open on June 5th.  Baja Fresh will offer catering and has a beer and wine license.

The high tech ice cream shop, iCream is located next to Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and should open around June 18th.  The Wesley Chapel location is iCream's second in the nation and it is a high tech, made to order ice cream shop with over 250,000 flavor/ingredient combinations according to the video below about the flagship shop in Chicago.  (Wesley Chapel iCream Operating Partner, Kush Vallabh says that someone else has done the math and there are supposedly 7 million possible combinations.)  iCream founder, Cora Shaw will be here for the first week of the opening so maybe she can do the math for us!  The ice cream shop is vegan friendly too offering soy and organic frozen treats and will offer catering.  Think about having iCream making fresh ice cream at your next event.  Wow!  Oh, and I saved the best for last.  iCream will have a beer and wine license. So, you can order a root beer float made with chocolate beer!  Now how cool is that?  (June 19th update.  Just received a text from Kush and they now hope to open on Friday June 22nd).--Russ


Happy National Donut Day!

Participating Dunkin Donuts restaurants are offering a free donut today with the purchase of a beverage!