Pioneer Homes News

Home Values Up 6.9% in August

Friday, September 22, 2017  Median home values are reaching new peaks in more than half of the nation's largest housing markets.

"The housing market as a whole is moving at a steady clip, with high demand and low inventory combining to maintain strong home value appreciation," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Most new construction has been at the higher end of the market, so demand for the limited supply of entry-level homes is pushing up their values, but these homes also lost more value when the bubble burst.

The median home value in the U.S. rose 6.9% over the last year to a Zillow Home Value Index of $201,900. Seattle is the only major U.S. market where home values rose at a double-digit annual pace, up 12.4% since last August to a median home value of $453,100. Tampa home values rose 9.3%, and the median home is worth $187,400.

 * Statistics from

Annual rent appreciation grew for the fourth consecutive month, with rents increasing 1.9% from last August to a Zillow Rent Index of $1,430.

Limited inventory leaves few options for buyers. Nationally there were 12.6% fewer homes available in August 2017 than there were in August 2016. San Jose and San Diego saw the biggest annual declines in inventory, down 59.4% and 37.2% respectively.

Mortgage rates on Zillow ended August at 3.62%, near the lowest level of the month. Rates moved steadily lower throughout the month after starting at a high of 3.72% Zillow's real-time mortgage rates are based on thousands of custom mortgage quotes submitted daily to anonymous borrowers on the Zillow Mortgages site and reflect the most recent changes in the market.

Posted:  September 21 2017

Tampa was ranked 2nd Best City to Retire

Tuesday, August 15, 2017  Tampa was named 2017’s 2nd Best City to Retire in a recent study from the leading personal finance outlet You can find the full study here:

To help Americans plan for a comfortable retirement without breaking the bank, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 largest U.S. cities across 40 key measures of affordability, quality of life, health care and availability of recreational activities. The data set ranges from cost of living to retired taxpayer-friendliness to share of the 65 and older population.

Retirement-Friendliness of Tampa (1=Best; 75=Avg.):

34th– Adjusted Cost of Living
44th– Annual Cost of In-Home Services
10th–Recreation & Senior Centers per Capita
24th–Adult Volunteer Activities per Capita
18th– ‘Mild Weather’ Ranking
17th–Home-Care Facilities per Capita
1st - Fishing Facilities per Capita
4th - Bingo Halls per Capita

Posted: 8/15/17

You can find the full study here:

Frontier Airlines expands to 11 cities from Tampa

Thursday, July 20, 2017
TAMPA (WFLA) – Frontier Airlines is expanding its service to 11 new cities from Tampa.

Frontier and Tampa International Airport officials made the announcement on Tuesday.

The new destinations and start dates:

Buffalo – Dec. 6
Colorado Springs – Oct. 6
Columbus – Dec. 17
Indianapolis – Nov. 12
Islip (Long Island) – Oct. 5
Kansas City – Dec. 16
Milwaukee – Nov. 10
Minneapolis – Oct. 5
Nashville – Dec. 17
Providence – Oct. 10
St. Louis – Oct. 6

And of course, with new service comes fare deals. Frontier is offering one-way tickets for as low as $34 and $39 to these new cities. Restrictions do apply. But you must purchase your tickets by July 20.

Today’s announcement is part of a bigger plan to bring low fares to 21 new cities and 85 new routes, which will include 90 percent of the U.S. population, Frontier said.

“By expanding our low fares, we are creating a new day for travel. Millions more Americans can now afford to take the time they deserve to visit new and familiar places, be there for life changing events and start new businesses,” Frontier posted on its website.

By WFLA Web Staff
Published: July 18, 2017, 3:08 pm   Updated: July 19, 2017, 6:14 am

Developers introduce $3B 'Water Street Tampa' downtown redevelopment

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
TAMPA-- The developers who are spending more than $3 billion in private investment to transform downtown Tampa released a new rendering that shows how much the skyline will grow in nine years, and also revealed the name of the project: Water Street Tampa.
  • Development will include 1st new office building in downtown Tampa in 25 years
  • Tallest building will be 30 stories
  • 1st building scheduled to open in Fall 2019

“Water Street Tampa is an existing street that runs through downtown Tampa along the waterfront and will be extended three blocks to the north,” said Strategic Property Partners CEO James Nozar, “creating a real spine of our overall downtown project.”

Nozar said the brand new Water Street will feature wide sidewalks, outdoor dining, retail and a heavily landscaped linear park with a double row of trees that form a shade canopy.

“Similar to a Bourbon Street in New Orleans or Broadway in New York or Newbury in Boston,” he said. “We really envision Water Street being one of those great streets for Tampa.”

SPP is a joint real estate venture between Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. This fall, crews will break ground on the first of 18 distinct buildings that have been under design for the past year.

                       TAMPA 2017

JuxtaposeJS  Photo Credits: Before SPP After SPP

                      TAMPA 2026


“Our first projects will all come out of the ground concurrently,” said Nozar. “That includes approximately 1,400 residential units, apartments and condominiums, two new hotels, a couple of new office buildings and quite a bit of ground floor retail.”

According to SPP, they will build the first new office building in downtown Tampa in 25 years. The tallest building will be 30 stories high and one of the new hotels will be Tampa’s first five star resort.

The other hotel will be a companion to the Marriott Waterside, which will begin a $40 million renovation next month.

The first building to open in the fall of 2019 will be the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. The total project is 9 million square feet, 57 acres, with 13 of those acres becoming enhanced public space.

Water Street Tampa is slated for completion in 2026.

By Josh Rojas, News 13 Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 10:44 AM EDT

Tampa International Airport growing in many ways

Monday, May 15, 2017

TAMPA  With less than a year to go on construction of the first phase of the Tampa International Airport expansion, we are moving forward with the next phase: a curbside expansion with express lanes for travelers with no checked bags and a 17-acre real estate development. Our third and final phase, proposed for some time after 2020, will be a 16-gate airside.

As the gateway to the west coast of Florida, it's essential that the airport grow at a pace consistent with Tampa Bay, one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country.

We're already bursting at the seams. Though the numbers of takeoffs and landings are flat, airlines are flying bigger, fuller planes. (It's not your imagination: There really is less leg room.) That means more people use the airport than ever before. We served nearly 2 million passengers in March, marking the busiest month in the airport's history. Peaks and valleys occur, but the numbers show us meeting passenger forecasts developed during the planning of the expansion in 2012.

Workers build people mover tracks at Tampa International. Phase one of the expansion project has less than a year to go.


Since then, we've seen a 12.5 percent increase in passengers and anticipate serving a record number this year. With new service to Panama, Germany, Cuba and, soon, Iceland, international passenger traffic has increased more than 100 percent. Those flights and new service to Seattle and San Francisco support our tourism economy as well as the growth of other business sectors that rely on easy access to domestic and international flights.

Our financial picture is also strong. Even in the midst of a $971.9 million expansion, Wall Street has given us an enthusiastic nod of approval: Tampa International is the only airport in North America with Double A ratings from four different bond rating agencies. In giving those ratings, agencies cited diverse revenue streams and conservative management of our capital program.

Phase one funding comes from a variety of sources. User fees attached to car rentals cover almost all the cost of the rental car center, an approach common nationwide for such facilities. Visitors largely pay those fees, but Tampa Bay residents and visitors alike will benefit from the resulting decongestion of roads and passenger dropoff and pickup areas. Bonds backed by airport revenues and user fees attached to airline tickets cover about 33 percent of the project. The state of Florida also invested nearly $200 million in the program, a generous contribution to a vital state asset that supports more than 81,000 jobs and generates $7.8 billion in economic output each year, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

In addition to the lasting benefits of the project, the construction itself has had a huge impact on local businesses. More than 8,500 people have worked on this expansion in some way. Most of the nearly 400 contractors and subcontractors are Florida-based or have regional offices here. More than $166 million is going to businesses owned by women and minorities.

Future phases will also benefit our growing community — during construction and for years after cranes come down and hammers stop swinging. The final, three-phase buildout will allow the airport to serve more than 34 million passengers annually.

To get there, though, we have to build.

The state budget passed by the Florida Legislature this year requests an audit of our capital program. We welcome any type of scrutiny. Transparency and accountability are core values of this airport's management team.

Through monthly updates at our board meetings, we keep the public apprised of construction schedules (we reported in February that the expansion's opening date is delayed, which is not unusual for a project of this size), financial metrics (the expansion is within the board-approved budget) and passenger numbers. Anyone can also easily access that information — and more — on our website,

As we continue to grow with and for Tampa Bay, we pledge to maintain a commitment to transparency and regular reporting of our true performance, as well as the highest levels of convenience and customer service that make Tampa International one of the most loved airports in America.

By Joe Lopano, special to the Tampa Times
Friday, May 12, 2017 1:17pm

Joe Lopano is CEO of Tampa International Airport.

Wounded Warrior Project Challenges Tampa Bay

Friday, April 28, 2017

TAMPA BAY, Fla., April 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- What if there was a day, once a year, when Tampa Bay residents could rally behind local community foundations to support their favorite charity? There is – and on May 2, "Give Day" returns to Tampa Bay for its fourth year. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) will be among the nonprofits registered to participate in the 24-hour online giving challenge, which is hosted by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

WWP serves warriors through programs that assist them with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, connecting warriors with one another and their communities, and long-term care for the most seriously wounded. Programs and resources are free of charge to those WWP serves thanks to generous donors. Warriors are empowered to live life on their own terms, mentor fellow veterans and service members, and embody the WWP logo by carrying one another along a path toward recovery

"In many ways, the communities where our warriors live and work can have a significant lasting impact on their recovery," said Gary Corless, WWP chief development officer. "Community members interact with these injured veterans daily and see their needs. That gives them a chance to understand some of the challenges warriors face when returning to civilian life, but also where they can support those Wounded Warrior Project serves. Events like Give Day Tampa Bay can make all the difference; we're extremely grateful for the past generosity of the Tampa Bay community. We're excited for this year's event, with the community once again helping fuel Wounded Warrior Project's mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors."

To learn more about Give Day Tampa Bay, visit And to see how donors support the programs and services that are connecting, serving, and empowering WWP's wounded warriors, visit

About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project

Job recruiters say home sales signal Pasco's demographic change

Monday, March 20, 2017

LUTZ — Tom Ryan, economic development manager for the Pasco Economic Development Council, says he gets asked a common question from executives pondering a company relocation to Pasco.

"Where are my employees going to live, work and play?" Ryan said. "It's almost a cliche now."

The answer, he said, signals the changing demographics of Pasco County. They are choosing to live in Pasco, where, in some locations, particularly along the State Road 54 and State Road 56 corridor, higher-end housing is the new norm, catering to an expanding, educated workforce.

"This isn't the Pasco County we knew 10 years ago," said J.D. Porter of Wiregrass Ranch.

Their comments came last week during the Pasco EDC's third annual meet-the-developers breakfast, at which 130 brokers, bankers, engineers, small-business owners, land-use lawyers and others networked and received updates on four developments: Starkey Ranch, Bexley, Wiregrass Ranch and Epperson, which is part of the connected city corridor in Wesley Chapel.

The average new home price in the Wiregrass development, east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, is $450,000, Porter said, with the average buyer six years younger, but with a median income 49 percent higher than typical home buyers across the country.

There, the housing boom followed the construction of the Shops at Wiregrass mall, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, the Porter campus of Pasco-Hernando State College and other nonresidential uses.

"We basically fill in the hole in the doughnut," Porter said about housing trailing the other uses.

It also meant employment centers already were in hand to drive home buying.

"Your higher-wage earners don't want to lose time stuck in traffic," said Ryan, noting that the vice president of Tru Simulation + Training, a company expanding in Lutz, purchased a home in Starkey Ranch because it is a 10-minute drive to work.

The progress reports to the PEDC audience showed Epperson, east of Interstate 75, has not yet opened, but has sold 15 homes. At Starkey Ranch in Odessa, buyers have closed on 157 homes, and 149 others are under contract. The average price is a little more than $425,000. The most expensive was $874,000, the least expensive $266,100. To the east, Bexley by Newland Communities opened in November in Land O'Lakes and has sold 70 homes averaging about $350,000.

The activity helped push Pasco's average sale price in January to $177,000, a 24.2 percent jump over a year earlier. Contrast that to the most recent information available from the U.S. Census — showing the median value countywide of owner-occupied homes at $117,800 over a four-year period ending in 2015 — and the reason for the optimism becomes apparent.

"One thing that ties this together is quality," Bill Cronin, president and CEO of the PEDC, said about the developments and their roster of luxury amenities and proposed commercial enclaves. Combined, they bring an "oh, wow" factor, he said, indicating to the public, "That's not the Pasco I knew."

While the focus was on the rosy residential market, the presenters — Porter, Matt Call of Starkey Ranch, Tom Panaseny of Newland Communities and Kartik Goyani of Metro Development — also touched on retail and industrial developments. Among the details shared during the session at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Lutz:

• Ryan said 64 locations in the county can be targeted for site-ready industrial use. After the properties are certified as site-ready, the information will be delivered to national consultants who help companies pick relocation spots.

• Porter revealed that Wiregrass Ranch is on the short list of potential sites for two Fortune 200 companies seeking land for separate employment centers that have a combined total 1.8 million square feet.

• Newland Communities is projected to build 1,720 homes and apartments, plus 562,000 square feet of offices and 94,000 square feet of retail space on 1,733 acres, but plans to acquire 600 additional acres from the Bexley family later this year, essentially growing its project by one-third. The company previously has disclosed plans for a Florida Hospital 24-bed stand-alone emergency room and medical office building and a 110-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott.

• Starkey Ranch expects to begin construction on its town center, at SR 54 and Gunn Highway, later this year. The northward extension of Gunn Highway and the realignment of the SR 54 intersection is scheduled to begin this month and finish around Thanksgiving. The shopping center on intersection's northeast side will be anchored by Publix and is projected to open in 2018.

• Three other colleges/universities will join the Saint Leo University-anchored education center within the Epperson development. It is the initial project within the connected city corridor, the first smart gigabit community built from the ground up in the nation. Its most high-profile amenity is the 7.5-acre Crystal Lagoon that is under construction.

WRITTEN BY:  C.T. Bowen, Pasco Times Columnist

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

Rent vs Buy in Tampa's Strong Housing Market

Friday, February 17, 2017

(WFLA) — Tampa Bay area home prices surged more than 14 percent in December, according to Florida Realtors. That’s the biggest year-over-year gain of any major metro area in Florida. 2017 is also projected to be a strong year for home sales.

Mortgage Loan Originator Brian Hiatt, of Movement Mortgage explains for residency of more that three years, Hiatt recommends buying, especially if you’re looking at homes priced up to $300,000. He points to a basic formula: how much would the home you want to buy rent for? If renting that home would cost more than the mortgage (plus taxes and PMI), it’s probably a good buy.

Hiatt used the formula to analyze the Tampa Bay area, and factored in variables including a down payment of 3 percent, a market appreciation of 3 to 4 percent, and a minimum of three years in a home.

“In 90 percent of the communities in the Tampa Bay area, rent prices are higher than the equivalent mortgage prices,” says Hiatt.

Hiatt provided these additional Pros and Cons for Renting versus Buying:

Renting – Pros:

  • Flexibility in time/location
  • Not locked in past your lease term
  • Landlord responsible for maintenance

Renting – Cons:

  • Typically more expensive for the same size/type of dwelling
  • Rent can go up every year
  • Upfront costs often include a security deposit and first/last months’ rent
  • Landlord can sell the property
  • Typically not much control over decorating/improvements

Owning – Pros:

  • Typically costs less per month than renting
  • Builds equity
  • Historic average appreciation of 3 to 4 percent
  • Income tax savings – you can itemize and deduct property taxes and percentage paid. Also, there are possible additional tax savings for first-time home buyers through the Florida Housing FTHB Tax Credit
  • You decide how long to stay

Owning – Cons:

  • Down payment can be tough to save for (although there are FTHB programs available for qualified applicants)
  • Maintenance is your responsibility


December Home Prices in Tampa Bay still on the Rise

Thursday, January 26, 2017

TAMPA  Home prices surged 14.4 percent in December for the biggest year-over-year gain of any major metro area in Florida.

Continuing a trend that never slacked during the year, prices rose while the total number of sales lagged behind.

For 2016 as a whole, "the key word was 'low' — as in, inventory levels,'' said Charles Richardson, regional senior vice president for Coldwell Banker. "Buyers showed strong interest and sales were up for the year versus 2015, but there simply weren't enough homes available on the market to meet demand.''

Throughout 2016, that low supply served to drive up the prices for single-family homes, which make up by far the biggest share of the residential market.

Ron Balseiro, a veteran Tampa Bay appraiser, says the tight supply is spurring many buyers to pay what he calls a "premium.''

"My assessment is values have gone up a little bit too fast too quick,'' Balseiro said Tuesday. In south Hillsborough and south Pasco, where hundreds of new houses are being built, homes he appraised a year ago for $220,000 are now selling for $250,000.

"I think the interest rate is the key,'' Balseiro said. "If the interest rates go up too high or they go up too quick, you have some people who will jump in and go higher (on price). But once that settles in at a higher rate, potential buyers are going to have a harder time qualifying so builders might have to lower their prices.''

In December, Pinellas showed the biggest year-over-year jump in single-family prices, up 17.6 percent to a median of $222,250. Next was Pasco, up 12.8 percent to $191,750; Hernando, up 9.5 percent to $139,900; and Hillsborough, up 9.1 percent to $232,575.

Bay area condos and townhomes did even better, soaring 17 percent to a median of $149,500.

One notable statistic about 2016 bay area sales: 50 percent of the listings sold in the first 30 days.

While that indicates demand is strong, it also shows that "sellers are being realistic in their pricing,'' Richardson said.

As of the end of 2016, the bay area had just a 2.9-month supply of homes for sale. A six-month inventory — meaning the time it would take to sell everything currently available — is considered a "balanced'' market that favors neither buyers nor sellers.

Richardson said two factors contributed to the low inventory of homes.

"The housing bubble burst of 2008 is still fresh on the minds of some homeowners, who remain reluctant to list their homes for sale,'' he said. "Additionally, the presidential election consumed people's attention and created a sense of uncertainty, causing some to temporarily delay any real estate transactions, though there was a small surge in activity when it was over.''

Hillsborough had December's top sale with a five-bedroom, five-bath house on Davis Islands going for $3.95 million. Purchased by Tampa Bay Lightning player Victor Hedman, it was also among the 25 most expensive bay area homes sold last year.

In Pinellas, the top price paid was just over $2.9 million for a penthouse at 400 Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. Other top sales were $800,000 for a newly built home in the Wesley Chapel area of Pasco, and $785,000 for a Brooksville home on 35 acres in Hernando.

For December, Tampa Bay's 14.4 percent increase in the median price was several percentage points higher than for the Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville areas.

Statewide, median home prices rose 9.2 percent year over year.

Nationally, sales of existing homes closed out 2016 as the best year in a decade, even as sales declined in December as the result of ongoing affordability issues and historically low supply levels, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The median price nationally for all housing types in December was $232,200, up 4 percent from December 2015. December's price increase marks the 58th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

BY:  Susan Taylor Martin
Tampa Times Senior Correspondant

PUBLISHED:  January 24th, 2017

Tampa Home Prices Continue To Soar

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

TAMPA Home prices continued to soar in October, with Hillsborough County recording its biggest year-over-year gain since January.

Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties also showed dramatic increases as buyers vied for an exceedingly tight supply of single-family homes — Pasco had less than a three-month inventory.

And even though interest rates have risen slightly since the presidential election, there is little sign the market is slowing down.

"We haven't noticed any impact yet,'' said Rachel Sartain, managing broker at Keller Williams Realty St. Petersburg. In fact, she said, the possibility of rates going higher will "hopefully increase activity'' by spurring people to buy now.

Pasco had the biggest jump in single-family home prices, up 17.4 percent from October a year ago to $179,900. Hillsborough, meanwhile, had its biggest gain in nine months, up nearly 16 percent to a median of $220,000.

In Pinellas, prices rose nearly 15 percent, to $206,500, and in Hernando, they were up nearly 13 percent, to $141,500.

With demand still high — and prices to match — near downtown St. Petersburg, Sartain said more buyers are looking farther north, in the 33702 and 33703 ZIP Code areas, where houses are more affordable.

"It's the 4th and 9th Street corridors,'' she said. "In the $150,000 to $250,000 price range, that's where we're seeing absorption rates as low as two to three months.''

Related: How long can the good times roll for Tampa Bay's housing market for the bubble pops?

At the other end of the spectrum, the top price paid in October for a bay area home — and the most paid for any single-family house in three years — was $6.875 million for a six-bedroom contemporary estate in Safety Harbor overlooking Old Tampa Bay.

Although the 10 gated acres were bought in the name of a trust, the borrowers on the $4 million mortgage loan are Pers and Svetlana Wickstrom. He is CEO of several drug and alcohol rehabilitation in programs in Michigan, including the 200-bed Best Drug Rehabilitation.

In Hillsborough, October's priciest transaction was a 5,000-square foot waterfront house in Tampa's Sunset Park area that sold for $2.857 million.

The Coldwell Banker listing agents, Mike Hughes and Jeff Shelton, were the selling agents on two other mega-deals in Tampa this year — the $6.625 million sale of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Coach Greg Schiano's home and the $4.5 million sale of a house purchased as a tear-down.

"The 2016 luxury market in South Tampa has been very active,'' Hughes said. "With the international flights increasing and the wonderful things our mayor is doing — it's multiple things that keep increasing values in South Tampa.''

Meanwhile, Hughes said, the demand for homes under $500,000 has been "extremely active,'' especially from buyers who plan to raze and build new.

"That stuff really flies off the shelves,'' he said. "South Tampa land value really is in the $300,000 to $400,000 range for average (new) homes of $900,000 to a million.''

In Pasco's Trinity area, the Champions Club golf course community continued to be popular, with a home there selling for $912,532 in October's priciest transaction. And in Hernando, a mansion on 20-plus acres in Brooksville sold for $825,000.

Other takeaways from the October figures:

•The median time from listing to contract dropped in all four counties — just 29 days in Pinellas, 31 days in Pasco, 34 days in Hillsborough and 42 days in Hernando.

•Sellers in Hillsborough County received 97.3 percent of their asking price; in the other three counties they got 96 percent.

•Prices of condos and townhomes showed year-over-year increases, up 16.4 percent in Pinellas to $145,000 and up 13.4 percent in Hillsborough to $144,000.

For Florida as a whole, the median price of a single family home in October rose 11.7 percent to $220,000 while the price of a condo or townhome was up 8 percent to $161,000.

"Florida's housing market continues to experience fewer sales of distressed properties and a restricted supply of homes for sale," said Matey Veissi, president of Florida Realtors. "When you look at the state's tight inventory of homes and a decline in the median time it takes for a home to sell, it shows buyers are still in the market. However, they're not finding as many potential options as they'd like."

BY:  Susan Taylor Martin 
Tampa Times Senior Correspondant

PUBLISHED:  November 22, 2016

 © 2017 Tampa Bay Times

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