Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa Bay home prices keep climbing; home building reawakens

TAMPA — When Charles Dowman, a hydrogeologist moving from San Francisco, began house-hunting with his wife and two children, he sought a charming, craftsman-style home in South Tampa and didn't mind a fixer-upper.

But after looking, and missing out on, about 35 houses, Dowman found "it was hard to find something before it got gobbled up by everyone else. It went fast." On Christmas week, the family decided on a home that was about 50 years newer — and $100,000 more than expected.

Dowman's ordeal showcases a number of local housing trends — higher prices and pinched inventory, which has led to a mini boom in new home building.

Tampa Bay home prices have climbed recently to their highest point in two years. Local prices in November rose nearly 7 percent over the year before, and 5.5 percent in 20 of the country's major cities, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price indices released Tuesday.

In Tampa Bay, a typical home sold in November for $145,000, Multiple Listing Service data show. That's well off the median price above $240,000 at the peak of the boom in 2006, but also off the bottom of about $110,000 in 2011.

Steady job growth and rock-bottom mortgage rates have emboldened demand among home buyers and investors, whose battles over tightening supplies have helped to drive up prices.

Buyers, real estate agent Liane Jamason said, "are coming up against very limited inventory and having to pay over asking price in order to even have a shot at succeeding due to the number of cash buyers and investors in the market."

Foreclosures and mortgage debt still dog the local market: About one out of eight Tampa Bay home loans in November was at least 90 days late on payments, research firm CoreLogic said in a report Tuesday.

But that has not stopped Tampa Bay and several other metropolitan areas hard hit by the housing bust from seeing a solid resurgence in prices.

Foreclosure capitals Detroit, Las Vegas and Phoenix posted three of the four largest year-over-year gains, with prices in Phoenix sailing upward nearly 23 percent.

"The Sun Belt, which bore the brunt of the housing collapse," the Case-Shiller report stated, "is back in a leadership position."

Rising prices are drawing more sellers to the market, agents said, but "underwater" homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth remain reluctant to sell, squeezing for-sale supplies.

Home builders responded by starting construction on more than 5,000 homes in the Tampa Bay area last year, a 28 percent increase over 2011, construction data firm Metrostudy said Tuesday. The uptick comes after several years of construction silence. The firm predicts local home starts will continue climbing through 2013, increasing 7 to 20 percent.

Though homes prices and building activity are still a shadow of their presence during the boom, real estate experts say a continuing improvement in prices is what the market needs to recover.

But where the market goes from here remains up for debate. Robert J. Shiller, who helped create the Case-Shiller index, wrote in the New York Times on Sunday, "The unfortunate truth is that the tea leaves don't clearly suggest any particular path for prices, either up or down."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or dharwell@tampabay.com.

Tampa Bay home prices keep climbing; home building reawakens 01/29/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. To catch a poacher: Florida wildlife officers set up undercover gator farm sting

    Wildlife

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, state wildlife officers created the ultimate undercover operation.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  2. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    Demonstrators protests the passage of a House Republican health care bill, outside the the Capitol in Washington, on May 4. The House took the unusual step of voting on the American Health Care Act before the Congressional Budget Office could assess it. That analysis was released Thursday and it showed the bill would cause 23 million fewer people to have health insurance by 2026. Many additional consumers would see skimpier health coverage and higher deductibles, the budget office projected.
  3. Florida Specialty Insurance acquires Pinellas Park's Mount Beacon Insurance

    Banking

    Tens of thousands of homeowners who were pushed out of Citizens Property Insurance for a private carrier since 2014 are finding themselves changing insurance companies yet again.

  4. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows

    Health

    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]
  5. St. Pete Economic Development Corporation lures marketing firm MXTR to town

    Economic Development

    St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation has lured its first big catch to St. Petersburg — MXTR Automation. The digital marketing company announced Wednesday that it will fill 20 "high-wage" creative positions within the next 18 months, as well as open an office in downtown St. Petersburg this year.