Make us your home page

Tampa Bay home sales slow as prices grow, bouncing out short sellers and investors

About 2,300 single-family homes sold in the Tampa Bay area during February, while median home prices rose to $150,000.

Associated Press

About 2,300 single-family homes sold in the Tampa Bay area during February, while median home prices rose to $150,000.

Tampa Bay home buying slowed again last month as short sellers and investors continued their retreat, emboldening worries over a drooping housing market after a resurgent 2013.

About 2,300 single-family homes sold here last month, 5 percent lower than February 2013, multiple listing service data show. Four of the last five months posted year-over-year sales slumps for the first time since 2010.

That hasn't hurt median home prices, which rose last month to $150,000, data show. That 7 percent year-over-year jump makes February the 26th straight month that prices here have bested the previous year's.

Climbing prices have knocked down all-cash deals from deep-pocketed buyers like big investors. But they remain a large part of the market: 45 percent of home sales here last month were in cash.

A bigger speed bump has been the dramatic slowdown in short sales, which once accounted for a quarter of all home sales. Only 237 homes sold short last month, half as many as February 2013, and one of the lowest points since 2009.

John Tuccillo, the Florida Realtors' chief economist, called the short-sale drop-off a "good sign," pointing to stabilizing prices and rebuilding equity for a state whose housing market has long been underwater.

Sales of non-distressed homes, meanwhile, have continued to improve. About 1,500 conventional homes sold in Tampa Bay last month, 5 percent higher than February 2013.

Though Tampa Bay remains one of the most underwater metros in the country, rising prices have helped tens of thousands of homeowners resurface.

About 30 percent of homes here were underwater by the end of last year, compared with 44 percent in late 2012, CoreLogic data show.

But higher prices have cut into housing affordability alongside upticks in the cost of loans. Mortgage rates for an average 30-year fixed loan climbed this week to 4.3 percent, compared with 3.5 percent last March.

Across Florida, about 16,000 homes sold last month, 1.5 percent higher than February 2013. Cold weather led home sales across the country to slide 0.4 percent to the slowest rate since 2012.

The median home sold last month for $165,000 in Florida and $189,000 in the U.S.

Contact Drew Harwell at or (727) 893-8252.

Tampa Bay home sales slow as prices grow, bouncing out short sellers and investors 03/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the United States today.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  4. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  5. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.