The Tampa Bay area is the fifth best area to buy a home in the country, according to Fortune magazine.
Even with the glut of foreclosures in the bay area, Fortune said, it's now cheaper to own a home than to rent the same house in 28 out of 54 major markets. Tampa Bay is tucked between Cleveland (fourth) and Las Vegas (sixth) on the Top 10 list. Orlando placed second and Jacksonville seventh. Atlanta topped the list.
As the main reasons for buying now, the magazine cites the historic drop in new construction since the housing market peaked in 2006, and the nationwide decline of 30 percent in home prices. Prices in some of the hardest-hit regions recorded declines of more the 50 percent.
Retiring baby boomers flocking to Florida again will help resurrect the housing market, Fortune said. The Sunshine State learned a lesson about overbuilding during the boom, Fortune said. Just look at all the large subdivisions still vacant or partially constructed.
That inventory won't sit empty for long. But the magazine warns that the bay area still ranks ninth in the nation in foreclosures. Still, the area has more sunshine and sand compared to Cleveland.