The Tampa Bay area, including the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, is in a recovering real estate market with rising home prices. That is great news for sellers, and also for buyers waiting for the right time to purchase real estate. With some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the country, and some of the most desirable real estate in the nation, the Tampa Bay area has a lot to offer. Whether you are a permanent resident, are looking for a vacation home or investment property, or plan to retire, in the Tampa Bay area you will find everything you need to suit your lifestyle and family’s needs.
Overall Hillsborough and Pinellas County Market Conditions
Buyers continue their search for good deals in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and area Realtors scramble to find desirable homes and condos for sale due to a significant drop in both traditional and distressed inventory. Low current inventory and high turnover over the past several years is pushing prices up, and the Tampa Bay area is now in a sellers market. Single family, townhouse and condo sales are up, and short-sale and foreclosure inventory are down for first time in recent years as first time home buyers and investors scoop up property. Even distressed properties are selling at slightly higher prices than last year.
As a result, market conditions are stable and we are seeing gradual price increases throughout Tampa Bay. Low interest rates continue to attract buyers to our market, the strongest demand being for single family homes and condos at the beaches. The market has improved greatly for sellers, with well priced properties selling quickly. For buyers, pre-bubble, affordable prices are attractive.
Pinellas County Snapshot
The St. Petersburg, Clearwater area real estate market continues to improve, the bottom of the market having been during last quarter of 2011. There were 955 single family closed sales year-over, representing a 20.4% increase during the period ending September 30, 2013. Median sales price were $160,000, with an average of 53 days on market and homes selling at 94.4% of their list price. As of September 30, 2013, there were 4,240 homes for sale with 4.5 month’s supply of inventory.
For the townhouse and condo market the news is similar. There were 575 closed sales as of September 30, 2013, representing a 20% increase. Median sales price was $100,500, with an average of 68 days on the market and properties selling at 92.3% of their list price. As of September 30, 2013, there were a combined 2,936 townhouses and condos available with 4.9 month’s supply of inventory.
Regarding distressed sales, there were 165 closed single family foreclosure sales with a median sales price of $87,580, representing a 16.0% price increase. For single-family short-sales there were 134 transactions closed short sales with a median sales price of $108,750, representing an 11% price increase. 77 townhouse and condo transactions closed with a median sales price of $68,800, representing a 10% increase.
Hillsborough County Snapshot
The Tampa real estate market continues to improve as well. There were 1,196 single family closed sales, representing a 9.9% increase during the period ending September 30, 2013. Median sale price was $174,900, a 16.6% increase, with an average of 32 days on the market and homes selling within 95.8 % of list price. As of September 30, 2013, there were 5,303 homes for sale with 4.1 month’s supply of inventory.
The Hillsborough County townhouse and condo market is also seeing substantial increases in sales and sales prices. There were 392 closed sales, representing a 17% increase as of September 30, 2013, with a median sales price of $98,500, an increase of 26.3%. Days on market was 33 on average, and properties sold at 97.2% of their list price. As of September 30, 2013, there were a combined 1,313 townhouses and condos available with 3.3 month’s supply of inventory.
Regarding distressed sales there were 193 closed foreclosure sales with a mean sales price of $100,000, and 152 closed short sales with a median sales price of $117,000. For townhouses and condos, there were 96 closed foreclosure sales with a median sales price of $75,125, representing an increase of 15.6%. 52 short sales closed with a median sales price of $69,950, representing an increase of 7.6%.
What's it all mean?
Market conditions are returning to normal, marking improved conditions for sellers and higher confidence in buyers. The low supply of inventory is creating competition among buyers and investors, giving the edge to sellers at the moment. Hesitant sellers and those a bit upside down on their mortgage have better shot at getting their price now.
Buyers are still able to take advantage of affordable home prices and low interest rates, and have the confidence to know they are buying in an appreciating market. Multiple offers are common, and we recommend making a reasonable offer without delay once the right property is found. If financing your purchase be sure your financing is in order, which gives the seller confidence in your ability to purchase the property and close the transaction. Keep in mind that 70% of transactions we represent are cash deals, so you may need a strong offer and a bit of flexibility in your terms in some situations.
Despite a few challenges, such as flood insurance and uncertainty about the overall economy, the combination of low inventory, low interest rates, fewer distressed properties, and higher consumer confidence are all helping to drive Tampa Bay real estate prices up and keep demand high.
Update on Flood Insurance in Florida
There has been a lot of talk about the impact of flood insurance increases on Tampa Bay homeowners, particularly in Pinellas County. The 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act would have begun to phase out the National Flood Insurance Program, a $34 Billion program which subsidizes homeowner flood insurance policies. Under the Act, 13% of approximately 2 million homeowners who carry flood insurance in Florida would be greatly affected by rate increases of up to 25% at renewal time, and new buyers would have to pay the full cost of flood insurance. The worst case increases would likely have been for single-level, single-family homes located directly on the water in flood zones.
The good news is a bi-partisan deal has been reached in Congress to delay the implementation of the Act, which was supposed to go to into effect as of October 1, 2013. Under the new legislation and bi-partisan deal the bill will be delayed for four years giving FEMA, the agency that is in charge of running the plan, enough time to study and address the affordability of the coverage before implementing rate increases.
While there is a need for flood insurance reform after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy disasters, reform must be implemented in a way that homeowners in affected areas such as Florida can still afford to obtain it. For the time being, homeowners can take a deep breath and hope that lawmakers are able to fix the problem in a fair and equitable manner.
Please Contact Us or call Christine Bacon direct at 727-480-9081 for information on homes in Tampa Bay.