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Bright Spots in Clearwater Real Estate
TAMPA - The local housing market remains bleak, but all the pain is finally bringing relief.
Sales in the Tampa metro area increased 25 percent in March from February, according to the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors. The 1,400 sales were the highest since June 2007. The number of listings is decreasing, too. The amount of homes on the market dropped 2.5 percent from a month ago and 20 percent from a year ago, according to Home Encounter, a Tampa real estate company and consulting firm. That leaves the metro area with 14 months of available inventory, the lowest level in nearly two years, said Peter Murphy, Home Encounter president. "This is the first month in recent years that we've seen real improvement across the board in the local housing market," Murphy said.
The improvement is coming at the expense of those selling homes, though. Distressed home sales, experts say, make up the bulk of homes sold. That's one of the reasons sales are up. Prices are low enough that real estate investors and others are bargain-hunting. The median sales price in the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater metro area was $131,400 in February, according to the most recent data from the Florida Association of Realtors. That's a 27 percent decrease from $178,900 during the same month a year ago. Home Encounter says fewer distressed sales are being put on the market because some lenders put a moratorium on foreclosures while they try to work something out with troubled borrowers.
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