A few more shots from my walking tour this week of downtown Tarpon Springs…
Tarpon Springs, the town where I live in Florida’s Pinellas County, is well-known for its Greek population, its great Greek Restaurants, and its Sponge Docks, a stretch along the Anclote River where sponge divers and merchants have gathered for more than 100 years.
The Sponge Docks is home to retail stores, souvenir shops, sponge boats and eateries, all of which celebrate the community’s sponge-harvesting past and present.
But one piece of Tarpon Springs that is perhaps less-celebrated is its downtown, a mile or so south of Dodecanese Boulevard, which is the Sponge Docks’ main street.
Located on east Tarpon Avenue and several surrounding streets, the downtown has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance in recent years, giving residents and visitors a choice when it comes to spending free evening and weekend time. A number of excellent restaurants have sprung up, and the Pinellas Trail runs right through the heart of the downtown bringing new eating and drinking spots, bicycle shops and other retail businesses.
Another reason to visit Tarpon Springs’ Downtown is First Friday a street fair event that takes place in the evening of (yup, you guessed it) the first Friday of every month. Its a noisy, crowded affair that offers food, vendors, music and more.
I spent an early morning wandering around the downtown recently, and I brought my camera with me..
The local real estate market remains strong, and that’s good for buyers and sellers and real estate agents like me. So I sure don’t want to complain – we’ve all been through good times and bad times over recent years real estate-wise, and right now is one of the good times.
But I would be even happier if we had more listings to sell. I’ve worked with a number of qualified buyers over the past year who were ready and willing to buy a new home, but were frustrated by a lack of good homes on the market. Good listings that are priced right are simply flying off the market almost as soon as they are listed, so buyers sometimes simply can’t find the right home because listing inventory is so low.
I went to the Pinellas Realtor Organization website to look over their statistics, and the numbers bear this out.
In March, the number of new listings was up 5.1 per cent from the previous March – 2,540 listings county-wide for the month in 2016 versus 2,670 for March 2017. That’s a bit better than the previous month (February), when new listings were actually DOWN from February a year ago.
While it’s nice to see that number climbing a bit, it’s still not enough to satisfy the strong market demand.
So, to state it simply, we have an over-abundance of good qualified buyers, and a shortage of good, well-priced listings.
It’s a quandary, because it would be hard to find a better time to sell one’s home. The medium sales price for single-family homes was UP a startling 15 percent in March over March a year ago! Medium sales price was $200,000 in March 2016, but $230,000 in March 2017.
I think the only answer for me is to work even harder to find good listings. If I can list them, I know I can sell them!
Are you thinking about selling? Take advantage of this extraordinary market! It won’t last forever.
Give me a call! 727-643-7100.
There are some great parks in Pinellas County, but did you know there are a number of parks where dogs are welcome? In fact, there are seven parks in the county that provide fenced areas where unleashed dogs can frolic to their heart’s content.
And it gets better; there are some parks in the county that are not run by Pinellas County, but which are managed by municipalities. And some of those parks are very welcoming of dogs, as well. An example: North Anclote River Nature Park in Tarpon Springs. This park is near my home, and it welcomes dogs. It even provides free poop bags (and really hopes that you’ll use them); free dog-level watering stations for thirsty doggies; and even showers for overheated dogs.
Here are the Pinellas County parks that have dog areas for unleashed dogs:
- Fort Desoto Park at the southern tip of the county (this is the only dog park that allows dogs on the beach)
- Anderson Park on US19 in Tarpon Springs
- Boca Ciega Park in Seminole
- Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor
- Eagle Lake Park in Largo
- Sand Key Park in Clearwater
- Walsingham Park in Largo
As you might expect, there are a number of rules that the county insists upon. Here they are:
- All dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the park.
- Park closes at dusk.
- Patrons use the dog park at their own risk.
- Handlers are liable for any injury or damage caused by their dog (s).
- Handlers are limited to three dogs.
- Dogs shall be licensed and vaccinated with a tag on their collar at all times.
- Dogs in heat are prohibited.
- Handlers must be 16 years of age or older.
- Children under 12 are not permitted without a responsible adult.
- Handlers must control their dogs and attend to them at all times.
- Handlers must carry a leash with them at all times while in the park.
- Handlers are responsible for picking up and disposing of their dog’s waste in designated receptacles.
- No dogs under four months of age. Check with your veterinarian before introducing a new puppy to the dog park.
- No aggressive dogs.
- Handlers must stop their dogs from digging and are responsible for filling any holes their dogs make.
- No excessive barking.
- No bathing of dogs within the park.
- No food or smoking within the fenced area.
The county suggests that you not walk barefoot in the fenced dog areas. I think that is great advice.
I’m excited about this listing because it is in one of my very favorite gated communities in North Pinellas County. I’ve sold quite a number of homes in Wescott Square over the years, and I hope to sell many more, including this one!
This one is a smaller unit, with a Great Room design, a roomy master bedroom and another smaller bedroom. It has two baths, an eat-in kitchen, and the large lanai has been enclosed and is now part of the total interior square footage, so its pretty roomy — 1,560 square feet in all!
The back of the unit overlooks a scenic pond, which attracts some of those lovely Florida birds. On the other side of the pond is the community pool.There is a fireplace, a wet bar, and an inside laundry room. The garage connects to the unit via an enclosed breezeway.
This gorgeous home is just waiting for you to bring your own touches — fresh paint and new flooring, for example.
I’d love to show it to you, but hurry! Homes in Wescott Square don’t stay on the market very long.
If you live in Pinellas County you know about the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs. But did you know you can take a one-hour tour on a sponge boat, hear a description about sponge diving. and actually watch a sponge diver in action?
We did this a while back and had a great time. We learned a lot, not the least of which was how incredibly long it takes for the diver to get into his suit. It was fun, and educational too.
Sponge harvesting has been going on in Tarpon Springs since the 1880s, and diving for sponges was introduced in 1905. Experienced divers and crewmen starting coming over from Greece in the early days of the 20th century, and Greek culture is still a major part of life in Tarpon Springs.
Interested? Come to the sponge docks and look for the white-and-orange St. Nicholas VII — its tied up not far from the statue of the sponge diver. Or you can call ahead — 727-937-5417. I believe the cost was around $8 per head when we did it, but the price may have changed since then so be sure to ask.
Follow up your boat tour with an authentic Greek meal at one of the many nearby Greek restaurants.
I recently took a picture of the old train station in downtown Tarpon Springs. It’s now known as the Tarpon Springs Depot Museum. It got me to thinking about what the train station looked like back in the day. I poked around and found a picture that looks to be about 100 years old. The current station doesn’t look all that much different than the old station did!
There was also a picture from the 1970s, and the station looked different then. I think it’s been renovated, and a lot of the original architectural features appear to have been restored. Maybe I’ll do a story sometime about the station’s history.
Picture a home like this: Granite countertops, master bath with twin vanities and a skylight, king-sized memory-foam bed in the master bedroom, big flat-screen TVs, recessed lighting throughout and a nice fireplace.
There’s more: a gated waterfront community, a private dog park, a private restaurant, even a fishing pier.
Sounds perfect, but here’s the surprise; it’s not a gorgeous home in a high-end subdivision, but rather a gorgeous RV in a high-end RV park. And it’s right here in the Tarpon Springs area, or will be before 2017 is over.
Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts is working hard on a sprawling 66-acre waterfront RV resort in Holiday, near Anclote River Park, just north of Tarpon Springs. The project will cost in the neighborhood of $15 million. It is aimed squarely at well-to-do folks who don’t mind spending anywhere from a couple of hundred thousand dollars to more than $2.5 million on big, luxurious land yachts that can either cruise the Interstates, or serve as stationary second homes when they are hooked up to amenity-rich parks like the Guy Harvey facility.
It’s all meant to take advantage of a major spike in RV sales. It’s something that few may have predicted a decade ago, when the RV industry withered because of the Great Recession.
Today, the industry is selling upwards of 350,000 units every year – big motorhomes, muscular travel trailers, and a variety of smaller campers and other vehicles. Taken together, it’s an industry that has bulked up to more than $15 billion in sales every year. That’s Billion. With a “B.”
America’s highways are now host to more than nine million campers and RVs, the largest number of such vehicles that have ever been in use at any one time.
It’s a trend that campground and park owners are well aware of, and they have been scrambling to give RV owners what they want – more perks, more amenities, more comfort and more space.
It used to be that RV owners would travel the highways during the day and then pull into an RV park at night. They might stay overnight, or perhaps settle in for a weekend. Now, those travelers still exist, but owners of the big RVs are just as apt to drive to an amenity-rich RV resort, plug in, and simply stay in one place. They may use the RV as a sort of permanent or semi-permanent vacation home, and back and forth to their permanent home by car or airplane.
The new Guy Harvey Outpost Resort will offer plenty of attractions for those RV families who want to stay in one spot, at least for a while, including a 20,000 square foot club house, bike paths, a children’s club house and a wildlife center with observation deck. It will feature 340 RV lots, all of them 3,200 square feet in size and paved with brick, which will cost around $150,000. Each will have 100-amp electric service, enough for even the biggest RVs, as well as water and sewer.
In addition, the company is offering 70 permanent cottages, prices of which will start at $250,000.
The company says the facility should be completed by fall.