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Brandon News

Hillsborough Realtors see appraisals matching market


Published:   |   Updated: July 30, 2013 at 02:41 PM

Significantly higher listing prices on homes in Hillsborough County may seem a little too ambitious coming out of the downtrodden housing market, but area Realtors say the shift in value is real.

Tom Bosso of Hunter's Green, owner and broker of New Tampa Realty Inc., 8709 Hunter's Green Drive, said earlier this year it was difficult to get a home to appraise for the higher price buyers were willing to pay. Now, it's hit or miss depending on the appraiser.

"They are listing the homes at higher prices, but the appraisals are based on historic information so the homes aren't always appraising (at those same prices)," he said. "One of the three homes three weeks prior appraised for $392,000 and the contract was for $465,000. Then I got a new buyer three weeks after the $392,000 appraisal and it appraised for $465,000."

Bosso, a former appraiser, said he believes it takes a while for appraisals to catch up with the current trends. He noticed that, after checking the box for "declining market," appraisers finally started checking the box for "stable market" about six months ago.

At this point, Bosso believes housing values throughout Hillsborough County are on the upswing. He considers New Tampa to be a micro market with its own particular situation, such as inventory at an all-time low.

Bosso said would-be New Tampa buyers gravitate to Brandon, Carrollwood and other parts of Hillsborough or nearby Pasco County due to the particularly low inventory.

Domingo Quintero III, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in South Tampa, keeps close tabs on the values of homes in South Tampa, another micro market in Hillsborough County.

Quintero said home buyers and sellers won't always get an accurate idea of the value of a certain home by checking online real estate databases that are inconsistent and lagging in real-time sales.

"Per the MLS (multiple listing service), there were 132 properties put on the market in the month of January 2013 that have sold in South Tampa," he said. "The average price-per-square foot that these sold at was $166 per square foot. If you compare this to the 102 closed sales that were listed on May 15, 2013, and after, the average price per square foot now is $176 per square foot. A $10 price-per-square-foot jump in five to six months is significant."

Quintero said he is shocked that between June 15 and July 15 this year, there were 281 new listings in South Tampa that are still active, under contract or were sold.

"The average list price is $207 per square foot at the time they went to contract," he said. "From Jan. 1, 2013, to Jan. 31, 2013, there were 164 properties listed that are still active, under contract or sold, and the average price per square foot they were listed at the time they went to contract is $174. This is a $33 price per square foot differential, which is huge, and (it) can be in some terms unrealistic for sellers to expect to get that kind of return."

Although inventory is still tight throughout Hillsborough County, Quintero said it's not as difficult to get motivated sellers to list their homes. When the housing market was severely depressed, it was a different story, as many homeowners were stuck with underwater mortgages.

"I think most sellers realize now that the market has swung back into their favor in South Tampa," he said.

When asked if Hillsborough County is headed into another housing bubble, Quintero said the situation is different. While housing inventory levels now are the same as 2006, the pricing is still below the peak of the housing market. For example, he said a new 3,200-square-foot house today in Palma Ceia on a 50-by-100-foot lot now costs $599,000. In 2006, it would have cost between $699,000 and $750,000.

"The difference is that the loans no longer exist, thankfully, that allowed no income, asset or job verification," he said. "This is what spurred on the insane sales and hyperinflation that caused the real estate crash. We still see appraisals bust deals, but not as frequently as last year, as appraisers can see there is an uptick in the housing market and mostly from appraisers that are well outside of the South Tampa area and don't know the market."

Bosso, who has been selling real estate for 19 years in Hillsborough County, said banks used to deal directly with appraisers, but now have them assigned from a network of third-party appraisers. Some of the appraisers in the pool may be from outside the county, which can create a glitch in the system.

"New Tampa is a micro market and you really have to have a feel for this area," Bosso said. "They don't get the trends here. A local appraiser has better judgment of value. That's what an appraisal is - an opinion of value."

Lcone@tampatrib.com

(813) 731-2008

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