The Old Northeast remains one of the most popular neighborhoods in St. Petersburg. Its charming homes, from small bungalows to grand showplaces, appeal to many who don’t care for cookie-cutter environments. Most of the neighborhood enjoys shady tree-lined streets, many of them paved in old brick, hexagon sidewalks, lovely landscaping and creative architectural styles. With the downtown waterfront park system running adjacent, it’s a place that invites its residents to get out and enjoy outdoor activities. Its proximity to downtown, bustling with entertainment and cultural activities, and its easy access to the interstate system, make it even more attractive.
Officially, the Old Northeast runs from 5th Avenue N to 30th Avenue N and from 4th Street east to the water. There are “purists” who insist that it runs only from 1st Street to the water, and stops at 22nd Ave N, often referred to as “Historic Old Northeast.” The area from 1st Street east to Coffee Pot Bayou and from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue has its own designation as Historic Granada Terrace, and the grid from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue between 1st and 4th Streets is often completely disregarded in the conversation.
We took a look at the last five years’ historical data, as well as the current year to date, to satisfy our curiosity about market trends. For the exercise, we broke the whole neighborhood into four grids as described above, and confirmed that they are very different animals indeed. We also looked at the area as a whole. Throughout this week, we’ll share what we found about the market activity. Today we’ll start with the bigger picture, and then we’ll look at each area individually.
It’s clear from the data that for the Old Northeast as a whole, the market hit bottom and began to rebound in 2011. The average sale price in 2011 was $311,312, with an average dollar per square foot ($/sq ft) price of $152. In comparison, as of last week, the average sale price for the current year-to-date had climbed to $461,126, with a $/sq ft average of $216. Both of those figures are the highest since prior to 2008.
You’ve probably read about the lack of inventory in the Tampa Bay marketplace, and the Old Northeast is no exception. There’s less than a 3 month supply of homes for sale currently. Average time for a listing to go under contract is at a five-year low of 89 days, and we believe that number is even artificially high as a result of overpriced, inferior listings that skew the average. Anecdotally, we know from experience that well-priced homes, in good locations, in good condition, are going under contract extremely quickly, often in a matter of just a few days.
You may also have heard about the frustration of many homebuyers in competition with investors offering all cash. We found it interesting that the number of cash purchases have never surpassed financed purchases in the Old Northeast as a whole since 2008. For the current year-to-date, in fact, 60% of the closed sales had some sort of financing, whether conventional (the lion’s share) or FHA or VA. If you break the sales into price bands, though, we’ve seen that those homes at the lowest end of the price spectrum have been the most likely to be cash sales (64% of homes under $250,000 year to date, for example).
The most important conclusion to be gained from our research is that real estate is hyper-local. The Old Northeast, given its desirability, performs quite differently than other neighborhoods. And as you’ll see over the next several days, even different sections of the same neighborhood perform differently. We hope you enjoy our analysis and report, and of course – if you have questions or would like more information, we invite you to contact us.