Tampa Area Home Values on the Upswing
By Christina Sturgis
The rough patch appears to be over for the Cigar City. Home prices bottomed out in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area in 2011 and 2012 and are expected to rise by 7.4 percent between the first quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter, according to Zillow.
Two other Florida metropolitan areas have sunshine in their forecasts, with Zillow projecting a 10.1 percent increase in the Orlando area and a 6.3 percent increase in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, both by the fourth quarter of 2014.
The coasts are faring better than the middle of the nation. Among the largest 35 markets covered by Zillow, the three that failed to show annual appreciation in 2013 are St. Louis, where values declined 3.8 percent, Indianapolis, where values declined 2.1 percent and San Antonio, where values declined by 0.8 percent.
The big gains are on the West coast, with Riverside, Calif., topping the gains at 16.1 percent over this time last year. Solid gains were achieved by Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Sacramento and San Jose. The East coast bounced back too, but the percentages were smaller from Boston to Charlotte, N.C., – coming in at 1.5 in Philadelphia to 3.7 in the District of Columbia.
Tampa has many reasons to be hopeful about real estate because homes are desirable where people can work and raise families. Florida has relatively low unemployment, ranked 22nd nationwide at 6.2 percent, on a scale where Rhode Island leads at 9.1 percent and North Dakota trails at 2.6 percent. The Tampa area is home to at least 10 schools receiving a perfect 10 rating from Great Schools.
The cost of living is favorable, as well. Expenses for a family with children are 4 percent lower in Tampa than Jacksonville, according to Nerd Wallet. That same family would need 15 percent more income in Miami-Dade County. In Tallahassee, the cost of living is 9 percent higher.