Make us your home page
Instagram

Study: Tampa Bay is nation's second best area for first-time homebuyers

A new study gives high marks to Orlando and Tampa for first-time homebuyers in the market. [Associated Press file photo]

A new study gives high marks to Orlando and Tampa for first-time homebuyers in the market. [Associated Press file photo]

For first- time homebuyers, you can't beat the Orlando and Tampa Bay areas.

Despite steadily rising prices, both are relatively affordable compared to the West Coast and Northeast at a time when nearly half of all buyers are first-timers, a new Zillow report says.

As millennials — those in the 18-34 age group — "reach the typical home buying age, they are coming into a tough housing market with low inventory and lots of competition," said Svenja Gudell, Zillow's chief economist. "More challenging metro areas aren't out of reach for new buyers, but they should be prepared to face a more competitive buying environment."

Orlando tops Zillow's list of best markets for first- time buyers, with the Tampa Bay area ranking second. Metro areas were evaluated on the basis of five factors, including inventory of available homes, share of homes with price cuts and costs of renting versus buying.

According to Florida Realtors, the median price of single family homes sold in Tampa Bay in March hit $214,200 — a 14.5 percent increase compared to a year earlier . But that was still lower than in Orlando and other large Florida metro areas.

And in more good news for first-time buyers, many bay area sellers are cutting their prices. Of the roughly 7,000 houses currently on the market in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, 821 have had price drops in the last week.

Previous Coverage: Tampa Bay home sellers make big profits but nothing like 2006

"We are so enthusiastic about the upswing, we've been allowing sellers to over- price with the understanding that in very short order they're going to have to come back down if they don't get offers right away," Ann Rogers, a Pinellas broker, said Friday.

More than two-thirds of renters nationally say that saving enough for a down payment is the biggest barrier to buying a home, the Zillow report noted. In Florida, though, many first-time buyers are eligible for down payment assistance programs, including one through The Florida Hardest Hit Fund that pays up to $15,000 in down payment and closing costs for residents of Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

Zillow found that Tampa Bay offers another advantage for first-time buyers: one of the shortest "break-even horizons" at which the cost of buying becomes less than renting. In the bay area, buyers hit the break-even point after 22 months compared to 29 months in Austin, 32 months in Miami and nearly 60 months in San Francisco.

After Orlando and Tampa, the best markets for first-timers were Indianapolis, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas and Cleveland. The worst were San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

So expensive are homes in San Francisco — the median value is $843,2000 — that even a 5 percent down payment costs more out of pocket than a 20 percent down payment in the best markets, Zillow says.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or 727-893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

Study: Tampa Bay is nation's second best area for first-time homebuyers 05/12/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 12, 2017 5:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]