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πŸš™ Tampa's New Toll Road, Solar Future & Affording Your First Home

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...

Apr 25 9 minutes read

πŸš™ Gateway Expressway connecting I-275, U.S. 19 set to open Friday

Driving the news: The highly-anticipated Gateway Expressway, a direct connection between U.S. Highway 19 and Interstate 275 in Pinellas County, is set to open to traffic on Friday, April 26, according to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

Details: The project includes two new tolled roadways – S.R. 690 and S.R. 686A – as well as the addition of express toll lanes on I-275.

The S.R. 690 is a new, four-lane tolled expressway connecting U.S. 19 to the west of I-275, while S.R. 686A is a four-lane tolled expressway from the Bayside Bridge to just west of I-275.

Parts of the project involved roadway improvements, rebuilding, and repaving in Pinellas County.

The construction costs for the Gateway Expressway project are estimated at $595.3 million. Tolls on the expressway range from 28 to 86 cents.

Why it matters: The Gateway Expressway aims to provide a more efficient and direct connection between U.S. 19 and I-275, potentially reducing commute times by 10 to 15 minutes, according to FDOT officials.

This project addresses the growing traffic congestion in the area and offers an alternative to navigating busy roads with traffic lights.

The big picture: With the region's population growth, projects like this help to improve traffic and provide more efficient travel options.

What's next: FDOT plans to widen the I-275 express lanes from Gandy Boulevard to 4th Street North to include a second express lane in each direction, eventually extending the express lanes all the way to downtown St. Petersburg.

The bottom line: The opening of the Gateway Expressway is a significant milestone for the Tampa Bay area's transportation infrastructure, addressing long-standing traffic concerns and providing a direct connection between two major highways.

As the region continues to grow, projects like this aim to improve mobility and enhance the overall travel experience for residents and visitors alike.

🏠 Step into Waterfront Luxury for $925,000 in New Port Richey, FL

🌟New Construction🌟


Let's explore 6279 Spoonbill Dr, a stunning new waterfront home in Gulf Harbors πŸ›οΈ 4 Beds, πŸ› 3 Baths, spread over 2,575 sqft, designed for those who dream of a boater’s paradise.

This home features:

🚀 Potential for a private boat dock and lift for direct water access
🍳 Chef's kitchen with oversized island, quartz countertops, and breakfast bar
🌊 Breathtaking Water Views from Hurricane Impact Rated Doors and Windows
🏑 Spacious bedrooms with plush carpeting and balcony access
πŸ› Spa-like master bathroom with free-standing soaking tub and dual sinks
🍴 Top of the line stainless steel appliances and elegant shaker-style cabinets
πŸŠβ€β™‚οΈ Large backyard with ample space for a custom pool
πŸŒ… Spectacular sunsets from the expansive balcony
🎾 Access to community amenities including pool, fitness center, tennis, and boat ramp
πŸ–οΈ Exclusive use of Gulf Harbors Beach Club for a private beach experience

Priced at $925,000, 6279 Spoonbill Dr is your gateway to enjoying luxurious waterfront living with state-of-the-art facilities and breathtaking views in New Port Richey.

See the photos

β˜€οΈ Florida Utilities Invest Billions Into Solar Energy

Driving the news: Florida utilities have invested billions in solar energy to meet the growing electricity demands of the region while decarbonizing. 

Details: Tampa Electric Co. (TECO) has spent $1.7 billion on solar farms generating 1,250 megawatts, enough to power 200,000 homes. Duke Energy Corp. will produce 1,500 megawatts by the end of 2024. 

Both utilities have filed requests to raise base rates to fund more solar plants.

Why it matters: The growth in utility-scale solar has been driven by a 76% cost reduction between 2010 and 2023. 

However, the rooftop solar market is struggling, with over 100 residential solar companies filing for bankruptcy in 2023 due to high interest rates and installation costs.

The big picture: Electric utilities produced almost 74% of Florida's solar power in 2023, while residential solar accounted for only 19%. 

Florida installed about 3,200 megawatts of new solar energy in 2023, ranking third behind Texas and California.

Between the lines: Utilities support solar investments as long as they can profit from them, but they have opposed the current rooftop solar system for years. 

Solar advocates argue that distributed rooftop solar changes the balance in ways that utilities resist.

What's next: As electricity demands increase, Florida's clean energy strategy is not set in stone. 

For now, utility-scale solar farms are receiving the most investment and predictability.

The bottom line: While Florida utilities invest heavily in solar farms, the rooftop solar market faces challenges, and the state has only tapped about 2% of its rooftop solar potential. 

The future of Florida's solar energy landscape will depend on how the regulatory and market environment evolves.

πŸ€” Buying Your First Home in Tampa? Here’s How Much Money You Need to Make

Driving the news: The median sale price of a starter home in Tampa is $255,000. In order to afford this, first-time homebuyers in Tampa should make $82,528 per year, up 7.8% from 2023. 

However, the median income in Tampa is $75,316, meaning the typical resident can't afford a starter home.

Details: As expected, starter homes in Tampa are more affordable than the median-priced home (all price brackets combined).  In order to afford any median-priced home in the area, you'll need to make $103,613 (as of October 2023).

Nationwide, you need an income of $75,849 to afford a typical starter home, which costs an average of $240,000. The average U.S. household earns an estimated $84,072.

By the numbers: Down payments can range from 0% to 100% of the total house price, depending on your budget, loan type, and long-term priorities. 

The typical monthly mortgage payment for a starter home in Tampa is $2,063, assuming a 3.5% down payment and around a 7% interest rate.

Why it matters: Tampa's housing market has experienced steady growth in the past five years, with a larger jump in popularity during and after the pandemic. 

This popularity has helped push home prices past the national median and beyond.

Between the lines: Alternatively, condos in the area have actually dropped in price recently as they recover from a surge in popularity that priced out many buyers. 

Rising insurance and HOA costs resulting from extreme climate risks also helped lower prices.

What's next: If you're in the market for your first home in Tampa, take your annual income, credit score, the current mortgage rates, and local market trends into account to make a decision that works best for you. 

We can help you navigate the entire home buying process and provide local expertise.

The bottom line: Buying a starter home in Tampa requires a higher income than what the average resident earns, but understanding the local market and your financial situation can help you make an informed decision.

πŸ“Š Our Current Local Market Numbers

The Pinellas and Tampa Bay markets are hot as peak buying season is in full swing!

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the next few months, you'll need a strong strategy to navigate the nuances of this market.

I'm happy to help you create a plan that will allow you to succeed in the current market.

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

🏠 Find Available Homes Today

πŸ“° In Other News: 

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


    If there’s ever anything you need:

    1. Custom market or home value report.
    2. Home Services list for a reliable contractor or services professional.
    3. Feedback or a professional opinion on a home project or other needs of the home.
  • Just let us know! We’re here to help with all your home needs.


    Talk soon,

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