The Housing Bubble Blog has a link to a story in the St. Petersburg Times in St. Petersburg, Fla., that caught my eye this morning.

The piece is like an East Coast version of the story I came out with this morning. The writer focuses in on the trend among Florida developers to offer all sorts of incentives to Realtors who can find them buyers.

Here’s an extract:

TAMPA – Thousands of dollars in home-closing bonuses. Commissions more than three times last year’s rates. Deep discounts and even gas card promotions.

In a rapidly slowing housing market, Realtors on Thursday found themselves suddenly amid a flood of incentives to sell homes at Thursday’s Tampa Bay Builders Association Expo.

Aimed at matching builders with Realtors, this was an event where many builders last year would only offer 3 percent commissions – if even that.

“In previous years, we had builders that wouldn’t even pay you any commission,” said Estella Cuesta, of Tampa’s Weichert/Yates & Associates. “Now, they’re offering you the moon. It’s good for Realtors. It was better than last year for sure. There were more booths. The only thing was that it was a lot more crowded.”

I just put in a call to Joe Werner, chief operating officer of Intergulf, one of the biggest developers in town. He said he’s seeing developers offering higher commissions everywhere in San Diego’s condo – and especially condo-conversion – market.

“I see it advertised all over. The standard commission used to be 3 percent, now it’s 4 or even 5 percent,” he said.


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