1. Business

Tampa Bay housing prices rose in 2018 but not nearly much as they had been

Prices continued to rise in all four bay area counties but the rate of increase has been cut in half since 2016, according to figures released Tuesday by Florida Realtors. Sales also lagged.
The historic Stovall-Lee house on Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard sold for $9. 5 million in 2018, making it Tampa Bay’s top sale of the year.
The historic Stovall-Lee house on Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard sold for $9. 5 million in 2018, making it Tampa Bay’s top sale of the year.
Published Feb. 12, 2019

Tampa Bay's housing market had another good year in 2018 — but not nearly as good as it has been.

Prices continued to rise in all four bay area counties, but the rate of increase has been cut in half since 2016, according to figures released Tuesday by Florida Realtors. Sales also lagged, with three of the four counties showing little or no growth in completed transactions.

"I would say that right now we are currently experiencing a market rebalancing in that we are shifting more into a buyer's market,'' said Rachel Gallagher, the broker-owner of a Pasco County realty firm. "We're seeing that active days on the market are a little bit longer than normal.''

After the disastrous housing crash of 2008, prices didn't start to rise again until 2012. By the close of 2016, Tampa Bay's market had become one of the hottest in the country.

That year, single-family home prices for the area as a whole shot up 14.5 percent and sales climbed 4.3 percent.

Last year, prices rose 6.8 percent and sales rose less than 1 percent.

Pinellas had the best showing in 2018, with prices for single-family homes climbing about 8 percent to a median of $254,000. It was the only bay area county with prices as high as the statewide median.

Sales, though, dropped more than 3 percent as the supply of available homes continued to be tight for most of the year.

"I definitely feel like it's slowing though it's still a great market,'' said Rachel Sartain, managing broker of two Keller Wiliams' South Pinellas offices with a total of about 400 agents. "You don't have to be afraid of a big boom or a big bust, it's just a good, healthy, stable market.''

Here's how the other bay counties fared in 2018:

Hillsborough: sales up less than 1 percent, prices up 5.7 percent to a median of $248,500. (In 2016, the median price for a single family Hillsborough home was $220,000.)

Pasco: sales up 1.5 percent, prices up 7.5 percent to $215,000. (In 2016, the median was $177,450)

Hernando: sales up 4 percent, prices up 9.7 percent to $170,00. (In 2016, the median was $135,00)

Gallagher, whose Trinity-based office has the highest sales volume of any in the West Pasco Board of Realtors, said she recently met with her 40 agents to discuss the realities of a changing market.

"We've been prepping our agents that they are going to have to work a little harder in 2019 than they did in 2018,'' she said. "I think the days of multiple offers will be decreasing and as we're shifting into a buyer's market, the buyers are going to have more of an upper hand.''

Homes that have been upgraded, though, still tend to sell quickly. "Buyers are not wanting to spend time to fix it up,'' Gallagher said.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.


  1. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  2. Bank OZK CEO and chairman George Gleason, left, and managing director Greg Newman are photographed at the OZK Wynwood branch in Miami on November 13, 2019. [CARL JUSTE | Miami Herald] [Carlt Juste | Miami Herald]
    In fact, Bank OZK has emerged as a powerhouse in commercial lending generally.
  3. Flooding from an October king tide in Miami Shores fills streets, sidewalks and driveways at its peak. [Miami Herald]
    And it could lose up to 35 percent of its value by 2050, according to a new report.
  4. Delta Air Lines said Friday it will launch five new round-trip routes a day between Tampa and Miami starting May 4. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    Delta says the daily nonstop Miami service will create new connections for Tampa travelers to fly to Latin America and other international destinations.
  5. The Undercroft — the new home to a branch office of TheIncLab, an artificial intelligence firm — provides work space for several cybersecurity companies in one of Ybor City’s most historic structures, the El Pasaje building on E Ninth Avenue. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times [Richard Danielson]
    The Washington, D.C.-area company expects hiring 15 developers and engineers in the next twelve months and partnering with bay area universities to augment its staff with student interns.
  6. FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo Amazon packages move along a conveyor prior to Amazon robots transporting packages from workers to chutes that are organized by zip code, at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Cashless shopping is convenient, but it can be a budget-buster. This year, make it more difficult to spend money online. This could help cut out some of your impulse purchases. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
    Here are some tips to avoid wasting money when you shop.
  7. Lori Baggett, managing partner of Carlton Fields in Tampa. [Carlton Fields]
    The Carlton Fields firm announced her promotion earlier this month.
  8. A new Publix in the Channell district located on the corner of E Twiggs Street and N Meridian Avenue in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times] ["OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Meanwhile in Tampa, the Westshore store could open soon.
  9. The Sears at University Mall near the University of South Florida in Tampa is in the process of being torn down to make way for a new mixed-use development project. [RD Management]
    This is what developers plan for the old Sears stores at University Mall and Citrus Park.
  10. Dave Bautista, shown here at his South Tampa office, has been named grand marshal of the 2020 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.
    The Guardians of the Galaxy star will lead the Pirate invasion along with Tampa police Lt. Travis Maus, who recently served in the Middle East.