Tampa Bay home sales rebounded last month after a disappointing spring, rising 3 percent over last June and renewing hopes that the housing recovery is back on track.
About 3,400 single-family homes sold here in June, the second-busiest month for sales since the housing bubble burst, Realtor data show. The median home sold for $167,000, about 2 percent higher than at the same time last year as prices near a post-bust peak.
Home prices here have consistently gained since the market bottomed in 2011, with median prices climbing year-over-year for 30 of the past 31 months.
Those jumping costs nudged out bulk investors and tight-budget buyers, causing sales to drop nearly every month this year. But pent-up demand from the spring slowdown, coupled with some of the year's lowest mortgage rates, have helped nudge home shoppers back to life.
"Home buyers still appear to have a little more spring in their step as … job growth and consumer confidence continue to improve," Wells Fargo Securities economists wrote in a commentary released Wednesday.
The changing tenor, analysts say, could reflect a market that's shaking off the distorting effects of big-spending investors and a flood of underwater homes.
All-cash deals, many from investors, dropped last month to 35 percent of all home sales, the lowest point since 2010. And not since 2008 have conventional sales made up such a big part (73 percent) of total sales — and short sales and foreclosures such a small slice (27 percent).
About 750 Tampa Bay condos sold last month, leading to the biggest year-over-year sales jump since last summer, and condo prices continued a 14-month climb, to a median of $85,000.
Mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 4.14 percent last month, down from 4.53 at the start of the year.
Though buoyed sales inspired optimism from real estate agents, analysts said a host of worrying challenges for home buyers remain, including strained supplies of homes for sale, restrictive lenders, high levels of delinquent mortgages and overstretched affordability for hopeful homeowners, especially first-time buyers.
"While the improvement has brought about a sense of relief," Wells Fargo Securities economists wrote, "the fundamentals are only marginally better than they were a few months ago."
Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or email@example.com. Follow @drewharwell.