Reduced Prices on Luxury Real Estate and Low Interest Rates Drive Home Sales in Tampa Bay, According to Smith & Associates

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Smith & Associates Real Estate Reports Increase in Tampa Bay Luxury Home Sales – a Promising Sign for Local Economy

As the nation waits and watches for indicators of an economic rebound, Tampa Bay luxury real estate firm Smith & Associates is seeing promising signs of growth locally, based on luxury home sales in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. According to records compiled by Smith & Associates Real Estate, residential property sales in excess of $1 million were up about 9% in the Tampa Bay area as of the end of 2010. A notable development in the first quarter of 2011 has been more homes selling in the $2 million-plus category, with some new high sales on both sides of Tampa Bay.

“People who understand the principle of cost versus price have realized that now is the time to buy,” noted Robert Glaser, CEO of Smith & Associates Real Estate. “With housing prices well below what they sold for a few years ago, and with mortgage rates below 5%, luxury homes that once seemed unobtainable are now within reach of more buyers. At the same time, those with the means to purchase multi-million-dollar properties are finding that they can get a lot more for their money, and are seizing this opportunity to invest in high-end homes that are likely to increase in value over the coming years.”

State-wide real estate sales figures reinforce the trends Glaser has seen locally. The most recent housing market indicator report published by the Florida Realtors® association revealed that sales of existing homes and condos in February were significantly higher than a year ago, with Florida home sales up 13% and Florida condo sales up an impressive 29%.(1) According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, low interest rates are spurring many buyers to act now. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, stated, “Few think mortgage rates are going lower. It’s more likely they will be 6% than 4% next spring.”(2)

So far this year, buyers have closed on 33 luxury homes in Pinellas County, with 39 pending sales above $1 million to close within the next 60 days. Across the bay, 17 luxury properties have sold in Hillsborough County, including two above $2 million, another two above $4 million and a recent sale set to close above $5 million. Smith & Associates Real Estate has participated in 80% of these Tampa Bay luxury home sales, including the top sale on St. Petersburg’s beaches – a $3.4 million beachfront residence in Pass-a-Grille – as well as on the Pinellas County mainland, with the sale of basketball player Matt Geiger’s $8 million estate in Tarpon Springs.

Glaser attributes the firm’s recent achievements to its long history and expertise in the local luxury homes market. “Smith & Associates Real Estate has been in business for 41 years, and we’ve sustained our success even while other firms folded in the wake of the recent economic downturn. In fact, we just opened a new location in Belleair Bluffs, in addition to our offices in Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg,” he elaborated. “Our customers understand the value in our firm’s knowledge and experience, and they know they can rely on our real estate team to provide the necessary guidance and support in making these major purchase decisions.”

While buyers are continuing to invest in Tampa Bay luxury real estate, Glaser cautions that the current window of opportunity may be closing. “We expect the market has started to steady out as the inventory of attractively priced, well-located homes in the luxury range decreases, and as sellers attempt to begin raising property values again. But for the moment, there are still some great bargains out there.”

Detailed listings of Tampa Bay luxury homes for sale can be found on the Smith & Associates Real Estate website, which recently achieved Website Quality Certification (WQC) from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. For more information, visit http://www.smithandassociates.com.

(1) “Florida’s existing home, condo sales up in February”; published by Florida Realtors® (http://www.floridarealtors.org), March 21, 2011.
(2) S. Mitra Kalita and Dawn Wotapka. “Discounts Expected in Spring Housing Market”; published by The Wall Street Journal (online.wsj.com), March 22, 2011.

About Smith & Associates
Smith & Associates Real Estate has been a mainstay of the Tampa Bay real estate market for over 40 years, providing clients with new definitions of service and luxury. CEO Bob Glaser leads the team and is backed with the power of Smith & Associates Real Estate's dedicated staff and more than 100 veteran agents. Smith & Associates understands the world is changing and how customers buy and sell their property is too. Their real estate services include new and existing home sales, development, mortgage and title, individual and corporate relocations, rentals, commercial and global properties. With 3 locations across Tampa Bay, they have earned their leadership position by knowing the market, having great listings and a dedication to their local roots. For more information, visit http://www.smithandassociates.com.

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