Continuing with our week-long series of analyzing the last five and a half years of housing data for the Old Northeast neighborhood, today we’re focusing on the section that is often overlooked, from 22nd Avenue N north to 30th Avenue N, and from 4th Street N east to 1st Street N. Despite that fact that many don’t consider it to be part of the Old Northeast, it has many of the same characteristics, including brick streets lined by shady trees, charming architecture and a very walkable feel. Although it’s not as close to the parks along North Shore Drive, it is extremely close to Coffee Pot Bayou, with sidewalks along the water, a lovely park and playground, and a public boat launch. And although it’s a little further from downtown St. Petersburg, it’s very close to grocery and shopping centers.
This segment is smaller and has far fewer homes than the neighborhood south of 22nd Avenue N, so it’s important to remember that as we look at the data. Many of the lots here are larger than those in the southwestern quadrant, so the additional land value impacts price per square foot ($/sq ft). As in the other parts of the neighborhood, 2011 seems to have been the turning point in the market, with a marked increase in total number of sales. The most significant difference between this and the other quadrants is that average sale price is still nearly $100,000 lower than in 2008 (currently $287,929 versus $383,500 in 2008). Oddly though, the average number of sales and $/sq ft is nearly identical to 2008 which would indicate that fewer of the larger homes in this quadrant have sold recently.
True to what you’re hearing about lack of inventory in desirable neighborhoods, the average length of time from listing to contract has reached a staggering low of 24 days, from 143 days in 2008 and a high of 163 days in 2011. Low supply is surely a key factor here! Another interesting observation is that this segment has had a greater variety of financing types than the others. FHA and VA loans have played more of a role here, perhaps because of the lower average sale price. Cash buyers have been major players in three of the last five years, but as of the first week of August, 71% of purchases year-to-date have had some sort of financing.
We’ve made note of cash versus financed purchases in each quadrant, and you may be wondering why. Well, the influence of mortgages is a factor in keeping prices from skyrocketing the way they did in the boom years. Given the lack of supply, you might think that sellers could demand unreasonably high prices – not so, if the home must appraise in order to get financing. Yesterday we referenced the impact of rising interest rates on buyers’ purchasing power – this too offers a check and balance to the overall housing market. Like most, we’re pleased to see recovery and improvement, but we also don’t want to see a return to the madness that caused the collapse!
Look for our last installation in the Old Northeast series tomorrow. As always, if you have questions or would like more information, feel free to contact us.