Today let’s explore the central Pinellas county area which contains Clearwater Beach, Dunedin, and the other surrounding towns.
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As you go west from downtown Tampa and take Highway 60 to the gulf, you’ll end at Clearwater Beach. That is right in the middle of the area we are going to talk about today. This area is known for beautiful beaches and interesting, quirky towns. Let’s dive in!
As always, let’s take a look at our four criteria
- Proximity – Is it close to the airport, the right school district, and personal necessities?
- Size (homes and areas) – 3+ million people live in the greater Tampa area, but each town has a feel in terms of population grouping.
- Style (homes and areas) – Such as stucco, craftsmen, city center, suburban, beachy, rural, ect.
- Cost – Purchase price, rent, HOA, property tax, home insurance, flood insurance.
How difficult is it to get to daily ammenties? Close to the beach or airport? what about downtown?
This area can be best described as a cluster of small cities with high population density. This means that each are has pretty much every needed amenity without feeling too much like a big city. That being said, you will need a car.
Mass transportation is not available and the city is a little too spread out to solely walk or bike everywhere.
One thing that is extremely accessible in this area compared to other areas are beaches. The beaches in this area are well loved, and some of the best in the nation. They are calm with beautiful white sand. If you like to shop, Clearwater Beach has a lot of shops and restaurants to browse.
When it comes to shopping in the area, there is no shortage of options. There are malls, and all kinds of little boutique style shops in the downtown areas with strip malls in between.
Publix will be your main grocery store in the area and also is one of the biggest employers in this county. There is also a lot of medical care in the area. Much of this county was developed with retirees in mind, so there are a lot of big and small medical facilities that treat all kinds of ailments.
Getting to the airport from here is pretty simple, it is a pretty straight shot with a few different route options.
If you want to get to downtown Tampa, it’s really just on the other side of the airport, so not much further than just getting to the airport.
Style in this area can be best described as mixed.
Again, this area was developed with retirees in mind so you do have a lot of smaller houses. Many of these are 2-3 bedroom houses, maybe villa style, maybe patio homes or even condos.
There are a lot of condos, but condos don’t stand out in the area as much as you would think. There are those beach condo buildings that are obvious, but this is the case really just in the Clearwater Beach area specifically.
There are a lot of other smaller condo buildings throughout and they kind of look like little local apartment buildings even though they are individually owned condos. In this whole central Pinellas area, there are a few areas with really cool turn of the century houses as well.
That being said, some parts of Clearwater and Dunedin do have bigger turn of the century houses.
This is something that actually makes Dunedin really attractive to some people. In this area overall, there are a lot of 3 bedroom houses that were built in the 1960’s and 70’s, some of those have been added onto or maybe the garage has been converted into another bedroom. But you’ll see entire neighborhoods of these smaller block homes that were built in the 60’s-70’s that are kind of low and have nearly flat roofs that were thought to be more resistant to storms.
There are some newer neighborhoods but they come at a very slow pace and in very small batches. So there might be a new development in the area but they may only build 20 houses at a time. This area is just pretty densely populated already, so in order to build they must tear down the older houses..
There are a few areas in the central Pinellas county that are quite a bit more beachy. Such as downtown Dunedin, which gets really close to the water and has a big marina. We have a video specifically covering Dunedin if you’d like more information on that area specifically.
Once you go down into Clearwater and Belleair and cross over the causeway, you enter onto the intercostal strip of land containing the beach towns. There are usually houses on the intercostal side and then condos and other developments on the beach side.
The population of the highlighted area on the map is about 270,000 people.
Compared to St. Petersburg, this area has a bit higher population.
These are actually some pretty big towns in central Pinellas county.
It’s also important to mention a town that is often overlooked, Safety Harbor.
Located over on the east side of the north part of Tampa Bay, it contains a population of 18,000 people, and is regularly sought out for the good schools.
It can be difficult to both buy and rent a house in this area, but if you are up for the challenge it may be worth checking out! So do some of your own research, look around on google maps, Safety Harbor is really amazing. The way that it is situated with commute traffic, it gets passed over. Meaning, people don’t really drive through it, either going to or from Tampa, which is a huge plus for living there.
For the Clearwater, central Pinellas area, cost is difficult because there are a lot of different sized places. So lets talk about single family homes first.
Single Family Homes:
- 4 bed 3 bath house for a family with a pool=$450-$600,000’s
- Smaller 2bed/2bath=$200-$400,000’s
Condos are quite a bit cheaper, you can get those in the mid $100,000 range for a 2 bedroom in some really nice areas. The downfall with condos are the monthly condo fees. Their fees can sometimes be pretty intense and will range anywhere from $200 at the lowest to upwards of $600.
If you’re looking to buy an investment property in these areas, also watch out for the condo associations, very often they require ownership for 1-2 years before you can rent it out even as a long term rental. When it comes to short term rentals, like Airbnb’s, each city has its own rules. For example, in Clearwater Beach they are not allowed. It gets complicated, and in some of these areas, you have to register as a hotel and pay a hotel tax as an investor. This being said, make sure you do research and know that different places treat rental properties differently.
This area is special because of the high quality beaches.
Clearwater beach also has all of those little shops that make it a fun area to hang out. That being said, it’s become a popular spot, meaning, it’s often crowded and congested.
If you like less crowded beaches, check out Honeymoon Island, which is the beach that I really like. There are not shops along this beach, and it is a bit more remote, but it’s far less crowded.