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😮 Tampa schools get $35M, Westin's new downtown development, & mortgage rates dropping

Mark Fazzini

Whether you are buying or selling a property, Mark will go out of his way to find out the key factors that are most important to you, so that he can p...

Whether you are buying or selling a property, Mark will go out of his way to find out the key factors that are most important to you, so that he can p...

Jan 25 9 minutes read

🏫 Tampa Bay Schools Get $35M Funding

Driving the news: Technology skills programs in Florida schools, particularly in the Tampa Bay area, are set to receive a significant boost from a $35 million funding initiative.

This move is part of a broader effort to enhance the state's position in the semiconductor industry.

Details: The $35 million is part of a larger $100 million allocation under the Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grant. This grant aims to develop a skilled workforce to sustain and grow Florida’s semiconductor sector.

Several school districts in the Tampa Bay region are earmarked for receiving portions of this funding.

Why it matters: The focus on semiconductor-related education is pivotal due to the industry's growing importance in the global economy.

Florida ranks high among U.S. states in semiconductor establishments and related jobs, yet it lacks significant chip manufacturing capabilities. This funding could bridge that gap.

Between the lines: Florida’s investment in tech, specifically in cybersecurity and semiconductors, has been a focal point of the governor's office.

Despite this, the state has missed out on substantial federal subsidies and designations in these sectors, particularly in Tampa.

What’s next: The distribution details, including the specific amounts and access mechanisms for the allocated funds, are yet to be clarified by the Florida Department of Education.

The bottom line: This funding represents a significant step in aligning Florida's educational infrastructure with the demands of a rapidly evolving and crucially important tech sector.

It's a move that could have far-reaching implications for the state's economic future and its role in the global tech landscape.

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🏨 Miami Developer Reveals $200M Mixed-Use Encore Tampa Project

Driving the news: A significant development in Tampa's burgeoning real estate market, LD&D, a Miami-based developer, has announced the hotel brand for its $200 million mixed-use project in downtown Tampa.

The 2-acre development, now named Cass Square, will feature a 178-room hotel under the Element by Westin flag.

Details: LD&D collaborates with Dynamic Group Management for this 10-story hotel, marking Dynamic's second venture in Tampa.

The project, located at 1101 E. Harrison St. in the Encore district, also includes DoMo at Cass Square — a 28-story, 360-unit apartment building with extensive amenities.

There will also be over 45,000 square feet of amenity space, 586 parking spaces, and 32,500 square feet of retail space.

Why it matters: This development is a significant addition to Tampa's urban landscape, signaling confidence in the city's growth and economic potential.

It underscores the increasing interest of major developers and hotel chains in investing in Tampa.

The big picture: Cass Square integrates residential, retail, and hospitality, reflecting a trend towards mixed-use developments in urban centers.

It aims to enhance connectivity and quality of life in downtown Tampa, aligning with the city's broader development goals.

Between the lines: The choice of Element by Westin, known for its eco-friendly and modern design, aligns with a growing demand for sustainable and contemporary urban living spaces.

This choice may attract a demographic keen on sustainability and modern amenities.

What’s next: Groundbreaking for the apartment tower and hotel is scheduled for summer 2024. While Coastal Construction of Miami handles the apartment tower, LD&D is yet to announce the general contractor for the Element hotel.

The bottom line: Cass Square represents a strategic blend of residential, retail, and hospitality elements that aim to redefine downtown Tampa.

This project not only reflects the city's economic vitality but also its commitment to sustainable, community-oriented development.

🔒 Is The Mortgage Lock-In Effect Fading?

Driving the news: Driving the news: A new Redfin report shows a significant shift in the American housing market. As of Q3 2023, the percentage of homeowners with mortgage rates below 6% has decreased compared to 2022.

This change is reshaping how homeowners view the current interest rate climate.

Details: In Q3 2023, only 88.5% of homeowners had rates below 6%, a drop from the 92.8% recorded in 2022.

Tom Toole, in a recent Hot Sheet, and Steve Harney, through a Tweet, suggest that homeowners are increasingly willing to move despite rates above 6.5%.

Why it matters: This trend indicates a potential decline in the 'lock-in effect,' where homeowners hesitate to move due to higher current interest rates compared to their locked-in rates.

This shift could influence the dynamics of the real estate market, with more homeowners entering the market despite higher rates.

The big picture: The lock-in effect has been a key driver of the housing shortage, but the situation is evolving. Listings are increasing as more homeowners decide to move, despite not seeing a significant drop in mortgage rates.

By the numbers: These are the rates that homeowners are locked in at:

  • Below 6%: 88.5% of homeowners, down from 92.8% in 2022.
  • Below 5%: 78.7%, a decrease from 85.6%.
  • Below 4%: 59.4%, down from 65.3%.
  • Below 3%: 22.6%, a decrease from 24.6%.

Between the lines: The decision to move is often driven by life events beyond financial considerations. Despite higher rates, homeowners are still choosing to move for reasons such as family changes or job relocations.

What’s next: With a slight decrease in mortgage rates and an increase in home equity for many, the market is witnessing a gradual shift.

The bottom line: While the current rates are higher than in previous years, the focus for homeowners and potential buyers should be on the overall monthly payment rather than the rate itself.

Understanding individual circumstances and focusing on what you can afford will be key in navigating today's market.

📊 Our Current Local Market Numbers

The Pinellas and Tampa Bay markets are expected to remain strong into 2024:

  • Median sales price: Over $400,000 in both Tampa and Pinellas County, with some areas exceeding $500,000.
  • Days on market: Homes typically sell within a month, sometimes much faster.
  • Competition: Expect multiple offers on desirable properties, and be prepared to act quickly.

I'm happy to help you create a home-buying strategy that will allow you to navigate the current market.

If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

🏠 Find Available Homes Today

📰 In Other News: 

  • That’s all for today, We hope you have an amazing week!


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