Call it a real estate renaissance. Because after nearly a decade of economic – and literal – rebuilding in the Florida real estate market, local counties are seeing a huge resurgence in property values and demand. And St. Petersburg is feeling especially loved with a 16 percent increase in median real estate prices in the last year alone.

Thrilling Real Estate Opportunities Are Taking Place in St. Petersburg

Until a few decades ago, Beach Drive in St. Pete was sleepy and quiet. Today, it’s alive with shops, cafes, restaurants and throngs of people looking for the area’s next ‘it’ destination – and the market shows no signs of slowing with record-high demands and incredibly low inventory available. And with limited resales and future land opportunities, building – or renovating – skyward is the only way to satisfy the demand to live among the ‘it’ locales St. Pete now boasts.

According to St. Pete resident and 35-year mortgage lender Teresa Rodriguez, the limited supply is a good thing for prospective and current residents alike. “We've seen a very robust return to stabilizing value," Rodriguez said. “The supply of the foreclosed properties has dwindled substantially, and opportunities are now simply not as available to 'flippers' coming in to make a quick buck – which is good.”  She explained that the values brought about with the ‘flips’ were wholly inaccurate and hurt the market – but that the market’s true values have returned for the current real estate hot streak. “It seems we've passed that point for the most part, so we are seeing true market-value-driven appreciation.”

Those ‘true values’ are now igniting the St. Pete condo market. Many high-end condos are quickly finding buyers, often in less than a week. A few condos never even officially hit the open market and are instead sold in private transactions to buyers who learned about them through word-of-mouth – or simply made such incredible offers that the owners couldn’t refuse.

Such demand, however, has many concerned that the market could be heading for a reboot of the 2008 bubble burst, which many still see hauntingly in their financial rearview. In the past, lenders added fuel to the fire of explosive real estate markets by establishing and promoting lending practices that created unrealistic, false value – and, in turn, ‘bubbles’ that had no long-term economic sustainability.

But with sales prices and real demand – not ‘flipper’ or investor demand – determining the value of the St. Pete market and the adoption of more honest lending practices, the hope for residents is that their ‘boom’ will prove to not be a ‘bubble.’

“The more responsible lending practices we now have in place – with no more ‘liar’ and ‘no doc’ loans – should help mitigate any potential for bursting bubbles,” Rodriguez said. “But the banks must maintain prudent, documentable, risk-qualified loans to support the market.”

And with winter comes Florida’s peak real estate season, wherein prices will continue to climb and inventory will continue to drop. Older buildings are now feeling the pressure to renovate in order to increase values and stay competitive in the throes of such a demanding market boom.

After a renovation, one condo tower is once again in high demand, and another new tower is already sold out with an extensive waiting list.

“As a resident and homeowner in St. Pete, it is with cautious optimism that I view the uptick in the asking prices we've seen in the market recently – and I think we’ve hopefully seen the worst of the past 10-year bubble explosion,” Rodriguez said. “And hopefully, we’re all a lot smarter this time around, too."