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Buyers go condo in droves in Tampa Bay real estate market

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Of course, I’m still selling single family homes, but condos are growing in number throughout the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg area, as well as in popularity. That may be because condos appreciate more quickly than homes, or it may be simply because they’re often easier to take care of and often closer to more cultural areas that only beautiful downtown Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater can offer. There was a wonderfully well-written story in today’s St. Petersburg Times telling all about the condo craze. It answers plenty of questions, including, “What kind of people tend to go condo instead of single-family?”

“”Seinfeld and Sex and the City are replacing Leave it to Beaver,” said David Goldberg, spokesman for Smart Growth America, a Washington, D.C., coalition of nonprofit metropolitan planning groups.

Goldberg said the number of households with children has dropped dramatically in recent years to less than a third of all home purchases. Meanwhile, the segments in the housing market growing fastest — empty-nest boomers and childless young professionals — have little need for the spaciousness of traditional detached homes far from jobs and entertainment districts.

Or, “When did this condo craze start?”

In St. Petersburg, the Cloisters opened in 1999 on Beach Drive, the first of three luxury projects downtown in a generation. Numerous others are under way, including less expensive projects away from the water.

Among these are 400 Beach Drive, a hot new luxury waterfront condo project that’s been written about here, now underway on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg, near the Cloisters. Now, you may be wondering, “But what about Tampa?”

In Tampa, the Victory Lofts opened in December. More than two dozen residential projects are proposed to follow, from the northern edge of downtown to the Channel District to Harbour Island, and are expected to add 6,000 homes. Another 26 projects are planned for Ybor City, Tampa’s entertainment district. Unit prices range from $200,000 into the millions, so for now, only the relatively affluent may apply.

At this point you may wonder if there’s any hope for you owning a condo if you don’t have $200 grand, and the rondo rave, or condo conversion craze, is filling the gap when it comes to making condos more affordable. Of course, the unfortunate thing about prices these days is that finding anything at all with washer and dryer connections inside under $100 grand is almost impossible, but that’s another story. Get more information on condos, condo conversions and how to make one your very own.

-John Mudd
“Mr. Real Estate”

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