St. Petersburg Times
Print storySubscribe to the Times

Home Prices

In Seminole, real cows to cash cows

A city that has doubled in land and population since 2000 bids adieu to the under-$100,000 abode.

Published February 15, 2004

SEMINOLE - Years before its incorporation as a city in 1970, Seminole was "orange groves, rattlesnakes and cows," native Sandy Hartmann remembers.

Central Plaza in St. Petersburg was the big shopping draw. "We'd go to Bay Pines and catch the bridge," Hartmann says. "It was a one-way bridge then, and you had to honk the horn before you crossed over."

As is typical throughout much of the rest of Pinellas County, Seminole has little space left on which to build.

"They're finding every crack of green space they can possibly build on," Hartmann says.

Relatively affordable housing has drawn numerous residents to the area, although median prices in Oakhurst, Northwest Seminole and West Seminole are edging toward the $200,000 mark.

Five years ago, it was fairly easy to purchase a house in the area for $60,000. No more. These days, buyers will find it difficult to find a single-family home for less than $100,000, says Hartmann, who is No. 1 in residential sales in Seminole.

The area is roughly defined by Ulmerton Road to the north, Starkey Road to the east, Bay Pines Boulevard to the south and Oakhurst Road to the west.

The cost
of living (here):
Research home prices
by neighborhood
Use the interactive maps located on the pages linked below show the rates at which prices have risen in neighborhoods throughout the 5-county Tampa Bay area:
Pinellas County
Citrus County
Hernando County
Pasco County
Hillsborough County

Related stories
Main stories
The cost of living here
Home sweet home no easy find

South Pinellas
Neighborhood ripe for change a good gamble
Priced out of their markets
Appreciation with a caveat
In Seminole, real cows to cash cows
Roots aplenty in Driftwood
The elusive starter home
What $100K feels like
Brisk sales at land's end
Must be something in the saltwater
Turnover central
Modest gains in Childs Park
Now that's rich

North Pinellas
Older, smaller homes have plenty of takers
This home hasn't changed very much - but the price sure has
Through the roof
Retiring baby boomers fuel waterfront boom

Work, wait and equity can just happen
Priced out of their markets
Old Florida features grace new houses
Suburbs going condo
These new houses celebrate old styles
New homes offer old style

Buying into Pasco's bargains

Going up: land values

Hernando's hidden secret
Wise buyers 'lucky,' content with beachfront home

Real houses, real prices

So, what does a median price house look like? It depends on the neighborhood. To view representative homes from south Pinellas County, see our photo gallery.

County Appraisers
To research detailed information about individual properties, click below to each county's website.
Citrus appraiser
Citrus database search
Hernando appraiser
Hernando database search
Pasco appraiser
Pinellas appraiser
Pinellas database search
Hillsborough appraiser
Hillsborough database search

Several factors make it a desirable community in which to live, Hartmann says.

"It's close to the beach. It's not as congested as other areas. From where I live in Seminole, I'm five minutes to a regional shopping center (Seminole Mall). I'm five minutes to Tyrone and Largo. The beaches are at my fingertips. There's no traffic. There are no bridges. It's a straight shot to the airport (Tampa International). People come home to Seminole."

Dee Engelken has lived on the same street in Oakhurst Shores for about 35 years. She and her husband, Dan, started in one house and then moved up to get a back yard with trees instead of a pool. Their ranch-style home has a view of the Intracoastal Waterway and Boca Ciega Bay. They have a dock and have owned several boats.

The Engelkens have no plans to leave the neighborhood. They like being on the mainland and being settled. Remodeling is probably more cost-effective with home prices so high now, Dee Engelken said. She and her husband remodeled both of their Oakhurst Shores homes.

"Some people are going crazy with remodeling," she says, meaning they are adding second stories instead of a bedroom and bath.

"I heard the other day that two houses were being demolished."

Teardowns are a trend in many Pinellas beach towns and neighborhoods in St. Petersburg such as Snell Isle. But Oakhurst Shores has yet to have many new owners who buy, tear down and build bigger, she says.

Soon-to-be retirees from up North are buying in Oakhurst Shores, as are young families, Engelken says. Even some siblings have followed family members in.

City Manager Frank Edmunds says local governments nationwide are feeling pressure to make their communities more livable.

They "are more sensitive on the excellence of the municipal services they are offering, whether it be recreation, library or response from code enforcement," Edmunds says. Seminole has been upgrading its recreational facilities in the past couple of years, he said.

A factor over which the city has no control also tags the livability of a town: public schools.

Seminole's are highly sought after, receiving favorable ratings. Seminole High, for example, boasts excellence in academics, athletics and band.

Two years ago, the Pinellas school system announced a new choice plan that left the placement of children in schools up to a lottery. However, the district allowed families who were in their homes as of June 6, 2001, to be grandfathered into the neighborhood schools they would have attended under the previous system. That triggered a rush to buy in Seminole, as figures for the area show.

"People were grabbing houses off the shelf," Hartmann says. "There was a huge push for living here."

These days, she says, some of those buyers feel they are being held hostage to their homes.

"I've heard that quite a bit," she says.

Though house values have increased, parents are reluctant to move because they lose their grandfathering advantage in selecting public schools.

For the past few years, annexation has been a crucial issue in Seminole, which has doubled in land and population since 2000.

Although the city tried in vain last summer to add another five areas to increase its population, land mass and tax income, it still is adding a number of residents who have applied for voluntary annexation.

If homeowners wish to take a slow, steady approach toward being included in the city limits, the same trend is true of house sales during the past five years, both within the city and just outside it.

Median sales prices are up anywhere from 46 to 61 percent in the greater Seminole area.

Only residents of the Oakhurst area outside the city limits saw an appreciation of more than 60 percent in median sales prices.

In part, that may be because houses in the Oakhurst Shores area, some of which face the Intracoastal Waterway along Boca Ciega Bay, are the only waterfront offerings in the area.

Three years ago, Hartmann said, housing stock in Oakhurst Shores sold for around $200,000. More recently, new buyers are paying at least half a million dollars to move into the area and are spending thousands more for reconstruction. Some are beginning to raze existing houses to build new, larger waterfront manses.

West Seminole prices appreciated least in the seven Seminole-area regions studied, going up by 46 percent.

Hartmann says house prices have increased so dramatically that tenants are finding it difficult to save enough money to buy. She anticipates the next real estate trend will be rapidly rising rents, which may spur another cycle in buying.

- Staff writer Sharon L. Bond contributed to this report.

[Last modified February 15, 2004, 06:49:16]

Neighborhood Times headlines

  • Student winners at science fair again amaze judges
  • Assistant chief is settling in
  • Pinellas Park's city clerk to call it a day
  • Mischler to preside over Pinellas Mayors Council
  • Cleanup for polluted complex
  • Opera fans can enjoy a treat this afternoon

  • Black History Month
  • Legendary black scholar to give lecture at church

  • Bowling
  • League leaders try to pin down a small problem

  • Colleges
  • Ex-Seminole star is a hit for South Florida

  • Home Prices
  • Appreciation with a caveat
  • In Seminole, real cows to cash cows
  • Roots aplenty in Driftwood
  • The elusive starter home
  • What $100K feels like
  • Brisk sales at land's end
  • Must be something in the saltwater
  • Turnover central
  • Modest gains in Childs Park
  • Now that's rich

  • Neighborhood notebook
  • Docks face three-pronged attack

  • Religion
  • St. Thomas' rector one of 4 finalists for bishop

  • Running
  • New race hopes for long run
  • Letters to the Editor: No need to fear Gibson's 'Passion'
  • Click here for the Neighborhood Times Social Calendar
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111