There, home buyers have more options that cost less.
"The redevelopment downtown is starting to attract some people," Rattray said. "And it's only going to continue. People want to be close to the downtown. Plus, it's a good value."
In neighborhoods closest to downtown Clearwater, homes have been selling at a historic rate. Through July of last year, there were 340 sales of single-family homes, nearly as many as in all of 2002.
Northern Dunedin and northern Largo had large numbers of homes sell through July 2003.
"People want to live in a diverse market," said Largo-based RE/MAX ACR Elite Group real estate agent Brian Staveley. "From my office, I can walk one direction and sell you a $5.1-million mansion. I can walk another way and find an affordable house for a little more than 100,000 bucks.
"When you talk about the service industry - schoolteachers, policeman, restaurant types - the majority of the people who work here, they can't afford 5-million bucks," Staveley said.