Home prices rise in Tampa Bay area

Published December 26 2012
Updated December 26 2012

TAMPA — Home prices here climbed to their highest point in two years, extending hopes of a broad housing recovery in Tampa Bay and beyond, according to new Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price indexes released Wednesday.

Home prices in October, the most recent month for data, rose nearly 6 percent from last year in Tampa Bay, and about 4 percent in 20 of the country's major cities.

"It is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength," said David Blitzer, a committee chairman for the widely cited reports.

The report backs up earlier findings from the Multiple Listing Service, which shows nearly 2,900 homes sold in October in the Tampa Bay area, a 35 percent jump over the same month last year. Median sales prices rose 9 percent to $133,000.

Nationally, data released earlier this month from the National Association of Realtors showed U.S. sales of previously occupied homes jumped to their highest level in three years in November.

Swelling demand from home buyers and investors, coupled with fewer homes and foreclosures on the market, helped to speed up the market's return. Steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates also helped.

Cities crippled by the housing bust posted some of the better comebacks in October. In Phoenix, an epicenter for distressed homes, prices soared over the last year more than 21 percent, the Case-Shiller report stated. Las Vegas was up 8.4 percent.

Prices in the Tampa Bay area remain just over half what they were in the ballooning peak of May 2006, but are still higher than they were 10 years back.