What’s Your Home Worth?

The question has folks occasionally checking their home’s estimates online.

But that causes Realtors far and wide to give a little shudder.

So if online guesstimates often miss the mark, what’s your home really worth? And how is it doing compared to those of your neighbors?

With the help of an extensive set of real estate data provided WOW by Nancy and Doug Wood of The Wood Team of Smith and Associates, we set out to help you answer that question—and many others.

At the beginning of 2019, with mortgage rates rising, many Realtors we spoke to saw 2018’s solid sellers’ market cooling as 2019 began. And while mortgage rates ultimately fell, what did factor into 2019’s market?

In two words: competition and age.

“New construction in the area—especially on Highway 54—has had an impact on some home sales in Westchase,” said Doug Wood of The Wood Team of Smith and Associates.

Nancy Wood added that as home prices increase and younger buyers face increasing debt burdens from student loans, more Tampa Bay newcomers are open to longer commutes to find a home in their price range, especially one that won’t require significant repairs or updates during their ownership.

Then there potentially was the impact of the mortgage rate hiccup. “The Westchase market had a small correction early in 2019 but ended very strong,” said Wendy Ross of Florida Executive Realty.

Westchase and its surrounding neighborhoods are blessed with a great location, beautiful natural areas, strong schools and wonderful amenities. With its high income levels, average houses in the area see prices that make many neighborhoods in Tampa Bay envious. Their only downsides?

Given their high starting prices compared to Tampa Bay’s average income and their ages—some are more than a quarter century in some cases and need some updating—their potential for upside is more limited.

Thus, while Ross stated she felt local inventory in December 2019 was lower than the previous December and Wood sensing that it was the same or slightly lower, the Northwest market saw only a moderate uptick in prices.

According to the Case-Shiller home price index, Tampa home prices rose 5.29 percent in 2019, outperforming the 3.3 percent national average increase in home prices. Tampa’s jump put it among the strongest 20 performers nationwide.

The 233 Westchase homes that sold in 2019—6.6 percent of the community (which matches the average turnover of the 2010s)—crossed an historic barrier. Averaging $187 per square foot, the price represents the highest ever reached in Westchase, exceeding the ultimately unsustainable 2006 real estate bubble average of $186 per square foot. Since 2015, Westchase home prices have risen an impressive 17.6 percent overall.

In 2019, however, the average Westchase home saw an increase fairly typical of national historic real estate trends, which over time tend to track inflation rates. While home price changes varied by neighborhood, the average home within the Westchase Community Association (WCA) increased 2.2 percent to $187 per square foot.

According to Wood and Ross, most sellers received 97 to 98 percent of their asking prices. And if your home was properly maintained and updated, it may have even triggered multiple offers.

Said Doug Wood, “To gain top dollar as a seller, make sure your home is updated to compete with new construction.”

“My advice to buyers has consistently been to act quickly if the property meets your general criteria,” said Ross. “My sellers need to be competitive when it comes to condition and pricing especially when it comes to homes in aging planned communities, but most sellers are fetching contracts within 30-60 days on the market.

Northwest Neighborhoods

While the year 2018 was a very strong year for most communities in the Northwest, last year brought some perhaps expected cooling of 2018’s hot real estate market just north of Westchase.

With the exception of a handful of exceptions, Northwest Hillsborough communities saw modest increases in home values in 2019, mirroring that seen in Westchase at large. Which community that we examined showed the highest rise in values?

After jumping 6.3 percent in 2018, the Windsor Place townhomes continued their upward streak following significant investments by its HOA two years ago. Last year the townhomes jumped another 7.1 percent to $161 a square foot. Thirteen of its homes sold in a very short 27 days on average. Windsor Place townhomes are now selling, on average, for four dollars a square foot more than Highland Park’s townhomes, which rose 1.9 percent in value to $156 per square foot and took nearly four times longer to sell.

Meanwhile West Hampton, a gated community of homes ranging in size from 2,800 to 3,800 feet saw square foot price drops of five percent to $152 per square foot, $10 per square foot less than Windsor Place townhomes. West Hampton, however, seems representative of a pattern commonly seen in Northwest real estate values. A very hot year is often followed by little growth or even a decline. West Hampton’s 2019 drop followed a sizzling 9.4 percent increase in 2018.

That same pattern played out in Highland Park, whose single family homes jumped 13.2 percent in value in 2018 but experienced a pullback of 2.8 percent last year to a square foot price of $176. That puts these popular homes about six percent lower than similar neotraditional homes located in Westchase’s West Park Village.

Mandolin Reserve, however, illustrates the pattern in reverse. After being the exception in 2018 among Northwest homes and seeing its values remain rather flat from 2017, Mandolin Reserve, which saw three sales in 2019, saw values rise 4.2 percent, despite its homes taking the longest to sell in the Northwest—an average of a half year.

In contrast the seven homes that sold in Mandolin Estates were on the market an average of 14 days, and sold for $167 per square foot, an increase of 2.5 percent.

Performing a bit better were homes in Westchester’s three neighborhoods off Countryway Boulevard. Westchester saw a 2.9 percent increase, slightly topping Westchase’s rise in values. On average, Westchester homes sold for $180 per square foot.

Meanwhile, Westwood Lakes’ prices remained largely flat, rising just over a half percent. The community saw 41 homes sales in 2019, with the average home taking about nine weeks to sell and bringing in $177 per square foot, a dollar more than the prior year.

Westchase Neighborhoods

With a handful of neighborhoods proving exceptions, if you lived in a Westchase subdivision, your home gained equity last year.

The least expensive home sold in the WCA in 2019 was a West Park Village condominium, which sold for $215,000 ($141 per square foot) on Feb. 20. The most expensive home?

That honor goes to 4,626 square foot home with five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a pool sold in The Estates inside Harbor Links. It sold for $855,000 ($185 per square foot) on June 7.

On a square foot basis, the most expensive Westchase home in 2019 was a far smaller 1,795 square foot home in Derbyshire, featuring 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a pool. It sold for a whopping $231 per square foot ($415,000) on May 1 while the least expensive was a 2,293 square foot Enclave home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and backing up to Linebaugh Avenue. It closed just two weeks later on May 17 for $295,000.

One notable record that 2019 saw broken?

Homes in Harbor Links/The Estates became the first single family homes in WCA history to break the $200 square foot average in 2019. West Park’s villas, which are duplexes, broke this barrier first in 2018, but dropped 3.4 percent last year, to $199 per square foot in 2019. While homes in Tree Tops, located outside the WCA, have been selling above the $200 square foot average for a number of years, 16 homes sold in Harbor Links/The Estates in 2019 at an average price of $202 per square foot, a 1.5 percent increase. On average, they took 82 days to sell.

In contrast, the least expensive WCA homes in 2019 were in The Vineyards. Three of the five homes that sold in an average of 152 days—the longest wait in the community—sold for under $160 per square foot, pushing down average sale prices there by 8.4 percent to $163 per square foot. It represented the biggest decline in a neighborhood’s home values across all Northwest homes we looked at. Yet the uniquely laid out and gated Vineyards homes still sold in 2019 for $11 more per square foot than the far larger homes in West Hampton, a gated community off Race Track Road.

The only other Westchase neighborhood to see a decline in prices between 2018 and 2019 were homes in The Shires, which dropped 1.1 percent and took the third longest to sell in Westchase. Prices there, at $186 per square foot, cooled off after jumping a whopping 8.9 percent in 2018 and 8.7 percent in 2017. After previously surpassing square foot prices in The Greens and West Park’s Single Family Homes, the prices fetched by Shires homes are coming more in line with homes in The Fords and other WCA homes in villages along Countryway Boulevard.

The second strongest performing neighborhoods in Westchase were similarly sized homes in villages along Countryway in neighborhoods like Wycliff, Woodbay, Glenfield, Bennington and Keswick Forest. These homes typically took just six weeks to sell at $189 per square foot, a 3.8 percent increase.

Meanwhile prices in The Bridges, which saw 21 homes sell, stayed flat at $183 per square foot and prices in The Fords ($186) and Radcliffe ($184) rose 1.1 percent.

Single Family Homes in West Park Village (which don’t include sales of villas and townhomes) sold for $187 per square foot in 2019, a 2.2 percent increase, in an average of 55 days. In contrast, West Park’s townhomes, which saw an increase in sales due to the David Weekly development, sold for $184 per square foot.
Westchase’s best buys?

The least expensive homes in the WCA can be found on the corner of Linebaugh Avenue and Countryway Boulevard. Berkeley Square Townhomes sold for $141 per square foot last year (a 3.7 percent increase) while homes in The Enclave sold for $143 per square foot, a decline of 5.9 percent over the previous year.

As for Tree Tops, the community outside the WCA? Three of the six homes sold there in 2019 had price tags over $1 million. The six Tree Tops homes sold for an average of $221 per square foot in 71 days on average (Removing the one outlier that took 239 days to sell, however, roughly halves that average.) That represented a drop of 4.3 percent in square foot price from the four homes that sold there in 2018.

If You’re Selling

The good news if you’re selling in the coming year is that both Nancy and Doug Woods and Wendy Ross expect a solid year in 2020. Inventory is pretty tight and mortgage rates are low.

How can you ensure you’ll get top dollar?

Take a critical eye to your home’s condition. If you’ve not invested much in it in the last two decades, you may have to compromise significantly on price to entice a buyer willing to deal with the hassle of doing the upgrades. Other deferred maintenance you should address before putting the home up for sale. “Buyers do not want to worry about budgeting for a roof, AC unit, water heater or appliances, and they want bathrooms and kitchens that are not 25-30 years old,” said Ross.

What trends are proving popular among those looking to make a purchase?

“Today’s buyers are drawn to light, bright, monochromatic interiors (white kitchens, quartz countertops) and consistent flooring,” said the Woods. “Porcelain wood-look plank tiles are popular.”

And if you rent your home out instead of selling it, both the Woodses and Ross agreed you can command between 90 cents to $1.50 per square foot, depending on the type of home, its views, its maintenance and whether it has a pool. Those renting homes, however, should always check on their HOA leasing requirements before taking that route.

Happy home selling and buying in 2020!

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

We thank Nancy and Doug Wood of the Wood Team of Smith and Associates for assisting us with the real estate data for this article.

WOW’s Real Estate Special

WOW thanks the following businesses for helping to bring you the Real Estate Special.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The listings below represent paid advertisements in conjunction with the Real Estate Special. Paid advertising is not an endorsement by WOW, Inc. Interested residents should contact the agents/agencies and ask all relevant questions prior to engaging their services.

Eric Anderson
Keller Williams Tampa Properties
(813) 415-7346
If you’re looking for a larger home or downsizing, I can sell your home and find your perfect new home. Call me today.

Carrie Bell
Florida Executive Realty
(813) 340-7684
Excellent service. Excellent results. Full time Realtor®. Living and working in Westchase since 2001. Treating my clients as I’d like to be treated.

Toni Cason, Broker Associate
Florida Executive Realty
(813) 766-0525
Selling Tampa Since 1988. Local expertise in Westchase and surrounding Northwest area. Experience. Commitment. Results.

Beth Cupari
Florida Executive Realty
(813) 363-7802;
Choosing the right Realtor® does make a difference! Providing expert real estate services for buyers and sellers. Staging professional. Luxury home specialist. Certified residential specialist. Certified negotiation expert. Over $180 million sold.

Florida Executive Realty
(813) 324-2440
A commitment to excellence.

Anne Hart
Florida Executive Realty
(813) 215-0734
Full time professional Realtor® with proven results—selling 33626 for 19 years. Call Anne whether buying or selling.

Karen Kirschner
Kirschner Real Estate Services
(813) 908-8808
We have been managing single family homes for over 30 years in Hillsborough and Pasco counties. We pride ourselves on overseeing your investment. There is no fee until we secure a qualified tenant. Let us manage your property and make your life easier!

LE Real Estate Group
(727) 243-2000 cell/text;
Lea Haverstock, Broker/Owner. Residential and commercial. Westchase real estate expert. 16+ years of experience, luxury estates, relocation expert and multi-million dollar producer. Westchase resident. Team of nine agents.

Janet Lopez
Taylormade Properties, Inc.
(813) 855-5858
Since 1994 Taylormade Properties has provided the highest level of service to Westchase residents, whether buying, selling or leasing. Committed to quality service, we exceed your expectations.

Gerald (Jerry) Pappa
Golf View Realty – Property Management
(813) 749-7930
“Your trusted property management partner in Tampa Bay.” Golf View Realty Property Management, now serving the entire Bay area.

Kerry Planeta & Kelly Mosco
RE/MAX Action First
(813) 817-5360
(813) 598-5747
Multi-million dollar producers. Westchase residents since 2003. Expert negotiators and trusted professionals. 10 million plus sold in 2019. Call us today!

Alex Romo
Mihara and Associates
(305) 299-1553
Top agent at top firm with over $200 million in 2019 sales! Westchase resident and gives back to local charities. Ask me about our cash investor, reduced commission and vacant home programs!

Wendy Ross, Realtor®, Broker Associate, MCNE
Florida Executive Realty
(813) 493-9241;
Representing sellers and buyers throughout Tampa Bay for over a dozen years. Westchase resident since 2001 with an office next to the Westchase Golf Course. Learn about Wendy at

Amanda Siftar Group
Smith & Associates Real Estate
(813) 857-9093
Westchase Resident since 2004. #1 Realtor in 33626 in 2019. Over 150 homes sold in 33626.

Smith & Associates Real Estate
(813) 570-7777
For more than 50 years Smith & Associates Real Estate has helped move Tampa Bay forward, connecting buyers and sellers with the right properties.

Alisha Stockton
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.
(813) 732-5851
Over 15 years of experience in Westchase and the greater Tampa Bay area! Specializing in residential real estate, investments and rentals!

Christine Sullo
Smith & Associates Real Estate
(303) 710-1029
Tampa Realtor® providing personal attention and dedication to all phases of real estate. Westchase neighborhood enthusiast, local property expert, where “People are the Secret Ingredient.”

The Wood Team, Doug & Nancy Wood
Smith & Associates Real Estate
(813) 957-3941;
Realtors® serving Westchase since 2005. Visit us at10714 Countryway Blvd., Tampa, 33626 (Publix Shopping Center).

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