Florida’s sunshine, sandy beaches, and laid-back vibe are irresistible to a large cross-section of home buyers, including celebrities, athletes, and other high net worth individuals.
The Tampa Bay metro—on the state’s Gulf Coast—has exploded with activity in the past few years, with luxury residences making up a significant slice of the market.
“In 2018, there were more luxury homes on the market and they were selling faster than in the previous year,” says Jennifer Zales, a luxury real estate agent in the Tampa Bay area and listing agent for Fred McGriff‘s mansion.
The stunning red brick exterior certainly commands attention, and it comes with all of the amenities a Florida home requires: a pool and spa, manicured lawns, and a large patio with an outdoor kitchen.
Local factors play a part
In 2014, the Tampa Bay market was still recovering from the recession five years earlier. Local buyers may not have been ready to embrace the multimillion-dollar mansion.
A year later, the local housing market began to rebound; by 2016, it was in full swing again. McGriff’s home landed back on the market—with millions of dollars sliced from the price—but it cycled through four real estate agents before settling with Zales in late 2018.
“It was listed on Nov. 28, which was right in the middle of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” says Zales. “People are starting to come back from vacation now, though.”
Currently, the home is listed for $3.5 million, which is in line with other homes in the Avila Golf and Country Club neighborhood. Homes in the gated community range in price from $1 million to $5 million.
So, after four years, five agents, and two significant price drops, what’s the deal with McGriff’s home?
Too big, too dated, or too private? Or none of the above?
Well, the lot itself could be a factor. The neighborhood is known for its sprawling estates, but McGriff’s home sits on 1.79 acres—which is double the size of the other lots.
The home’s interior is also a bit dated. Built in 1994, it’s still in pristine condition but the interiors could benefit from some cosmetic updates.
“This home would be for someone that wants to customize the interior finishes to today’s modern standards,” says Zales.
Area trends could also be conspiring against the home. Over the past five years, development has focused on the South Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg areas, where luxury condos and homes on the water have been a hit with buyers.
“In the luxury market particularly, there’s this big movement toward the urban core, active lifestyle, which typically includes some sort of waterfront experience,” says area real estate agent Kristen Morris.
Avila is a popular neighborhood, but it’s secluded and far from the center of the South Tampa hustle and bustle. With so much focus on the city’s downtown development, buyers could be bypassing mansions in gated communities for homes in a walkable neighborhood.
The mansion is also landlocked, while the downtown areas of the nearby cities all sit on the water and have been experiencing recent development activity. Beach and canal properties in the area are also in high demand.
Morris compares the Avila neighborhood, where McGriff’s home is, with that of Davis Islands, another luxury market with abundant waterfront homes.
“When I looked at some numbers, I noticed that since 2016, there’s only been one home at the $3 million [price point] that has sold in Avila, but there have been 12 homes on Davis Island that have sold, and they’re all waterfront,” she explains.
“I definitely think there are buyers out there,” she says. “I just think they’re picking waterfront properties.”
Still, Zales is confident that a buyer is out there, and Morris believes Zales is the agent to get it done.
“Jennifer has proven herself in the area luxury market, and she’s a phenomenal agent,” she says.
The Avila neighborhood has gained traction in the past year, which is positive for Zales, but it’s going to take a specific kind of buyer to scoop up this luxury estate.
“This home would appeal to anyone seeking a larger, estate-sized lot in a gated golf course community,” says Zales. “Another athlete or celebrity client or business owner desiring the privacy and security that Avila offers.”
All it’ll take is one buyer to step to the plate and swing for the fences.