Belleair and Belleair Bluffs benefit from a solid real estate market | Special Sections
Laila Broughton and her fiancé bought a house in Belleair a year ago, and she says they’re glad they did.
“People are very tight-knit. Everyone knows each other. We’re not from that area. We met everyone quickly. It’s like a community,” Broughton said.
The former Michigan resident was exercising that day along Bayview Drive, which runs parallel to Hallett Linear Park.
“This neighborhood is perfect for going out for a walk. There aren’t many cars,” she said. “It’s safe. If you have kids they can run around, you’re not too worried about that.”
Yet Belleair is close to beaches, restaurants, and other popular tourist destinations for tourists and locals alike.
She also noted that the real estate market was “crazy” when they bought their house last year. Real estate agents say the Belleair area is a hot market and a good place to buy property for several reasons.
A recurring theme among real estate specialists and other interviewees was the sense of community that Belleair and Belleair Bluffs in many ways embrace.
Martha Thorn, a real estate agent whose Thorn Collection is based under the Coldwell Banker umbrella in Belleair Bluffs, said the main reason to live in Belleair is that it’s “a small town community with a big city feel”. .
“When I show everything in Belleair, that’s what’s special to me. Our own police department, our recreation center, where kids can go and be watched,” said Thorn, who is also a Belleair resident. .
Karen Hegemeier, senior adviser for Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, said the Belleair market is coveted and offers a wide range of diversity in addition to privacy.
“It has this prestigious image. It’s a high-caliber neighborhood,” she said. “What’s nice is just the location of Belleair. It’s so close to all the Clearwater Beach activities. The pier. All the tourist attractions. And yet you can come back to Belleair. It’s a quaint residential area,” she said. noted. “It’s a beautiful area.”
The cachet of the region is not lost on Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.
“We have strategically positioned our new office located at 2933 West Bay Drive in Belleair because we recognize the great market value of Belleair. We can now easily serve sellers and buyers looking to buy in and around Belleair,” said Hegemeier.
Debra McMillen, head broker of Belleair and Clearwater Beach for Coldwell Banker, said the fabulous thing about the Belleair area is that it’s “this wonderful enclave that sits right in the center of the best beaches you can find in the world”.
“We have artists, we have the greatest businessmen who have lived here all their lives. It’s a generational community. Yet people hear about it and they want to live here. They want to be part of those spirits creative. People chose to be here. They love their neighbors,” McMillen said.
Belleair Mayor Mike Wilkinson said that because Belleair is a small town, government is very accessible and residents want to be involved, serving on government committees and organizations such as the Belleair Community Foundation.
“All of these councils are made up of resident volunteers whose contributions are valued and heard,” he said.
Residents are also struck by the beauty of the city, Wilkinson said.
“It’s a very unique city, especially its architecture – the houses, the streets. Our streets are not just north, south, east and west,” he said.
They are “half-moon shaped”, he said, which makes them “unique and very pleasant”.
According to online information, Belleair’s population in 2019 was 4,053 and Belleair Bluff’s was 2,094.
In the heart of the Belleair region, many businesses thrive in Belleair Bluffs, said Bonnie Trembulak, president of the Bluffs Business Association.
“One of the best reasons to buy property in Belleair besides the beautiful neighborhoods, waterfront and beach access is that you have a beautiful and picturesque downtown Belleair Bluffs, which is full of local businesses, many of which have been there for a long time,” she says.
In addition to restaurants, boutiques, clothing stores, nail salons, home decor stores, dry cleaners, fitness studios, wine shops, a convenience market, doctors’ and dentists’ offices are within walking distance. walking distance to Belleair and Belleair Bluffs.
“Some of the best restaurants you’ll find anywhere, real estate agencies, grocery stores and virtually every bank brand are represented,” Trembulak said.
The association oversees the Belleair Bluffs Wine Walk, scheduled for October 22 this year. It attracts around 1,000 customers. Around 70 companies are participating.
Thorn said she tells people when traveling around the area that “it takes five minutes to do whatever errand you’ve always wanted to do.”
The Pelican Golf Club, which hosted the 2021 Pelican Championship, and the Belleair Country Club, which has two courses, are also popular with locals and visitors. In the final round of the 2021 Pelican Women’s Championship, the tournament announced a three-year extension with the LPGA Tour through 2025.
Belleair Bluffs and Belleair parks receive loving care. Improvements to Belleair Bluffs City Hall Park continue thanks to a $100,000 donation from Bluffs Plaza Mall owner David Berolzheimer and a $50,000 grant.
Concerts, Christmas activities and sporting events, such as the annual Belleair Sunset 5K & Fun Run at Belleair, are also enjoyed by residents and visitors.
“You look at people in their 60s, eighties, even their 90s, and they have active lives, and I really believe that this community has a lot to do with that,” McMillen said.
Trends: A strong market
Real estate prices in Belleair are rising every week, Thorn said, and people are paying top dollar for homes that have been renovated. The market is very strong.
“There’s no inventory at all. Therefore, things that have been renovated sell for the best price,” said Thorn, who has more than 30 years of experience in real estate.
If buyers get a property that isn’t renovated and invest money in it, they can sell it, she said.
But because construction is so slow and materials are so expensive, “the big trend right now is to buy something that’s been redone, that’s already been remodeled,” Thorn said.
“That’s the biggest trend I see. Where you had people who were willing to buy the house, do the renovation and live in it. Now we’re seeing people paying top dollar for properties that have renovated because they don’t have the time to do it, it’s too expensive and they can’t get the materials,” Thorn said.
Hegemeier said it was definitely a seller’s market. She found that the Belleair and Belleair Bluffs residential area is one of the strongest markets for mid-priced homes in the entire Tampa Bay market.
“And it’s also a great market for long-term investors,” she said.
Architectural styles also vary. At Belleair, says Hegemeier, there are traditional, modern, Mediterranean, contemporary and other styles.
The values keep going up, McMillen said, “because you can see the creativity of the people designing it. The Pelican Golf Course came in. It was a plan. And when all these other things happened, it “It was a plan. And the people who have been business people all their lives and bring that creativity and that plan to where they live.”
Something for everyone
Christmas is Thorn’s favorite time of year in Belleair. Residents bring wrapped packages with the names of their children and grandchildren to the recreation center a few weeks before the holidays.
Then, a fire truck arrives with Santa Claus on board and sirens sound in the houses to deliver the presents.
“Santa comes out and hands the child a present. I don’t think you’ll find that anywhere,” Thorn said. “It’s a very small town, but there’s so much to do for everyone in town.”
Like a walk in or through Hallett Park.
“We have bald eagles that come here quite often,” Broughton said. “Keep your eyes open. You will see many beautiful things.”