Advertisement
  1. Real Estate

Affordable housing 'nearly impossible' to build to now in Tampa Bay area

There are signs of a slowdown in new home construction in the Tampa Bay area. This photo from May shows a new house under construction in Waterset on Big Bend Road in Hillsborough County's Apollo Beach area.  [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times file]
There are signs of a slowdown in new home construction in the Tampa Bay area. This photo from May shows a new house under construction in Waterset on Big Bend Road in Hillsborough County's Apollo Beach area. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times file]
Published Oct. 29, 2018

Construction began on nearly 3,000 homes in the Tampa Bay area in the third quarter of this year but the new-home market shows definite signs of slowing down.

Moreover, "truly affordable housing (is becoming) an impossibility in this market," a new report warns.

According to Metrostudy, which tracks housing starts in the bay area, 2,946 single-family homes came out of the ground in the three months ended in September, 5.1 percent more than in the third quarter of 2017. However, the increase was largely due to a near halt in construction following Hurricane Irma a year ago September.

"A case can be made that the market was slower in the third quarter 2018 than (in the) third quarter 2017," said Tony Polito, regional director of Metrostudy's Tampa market.

RELATED: Surge of home starts in Hillsborough, Pasco still can't meet demand

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Despite an overall gain this July, August and September, construction starts of homes over $450,000 plunged 6.8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

"A telltale sign of a slowing market is contraction starting in the upper end," Polito said.

Buyers looking for new homes in more moderate price ranges will find it increasingly hard as land, lot and labor costs plus government fees drive up builders' costs. Rising interest rates also are pushing up monthly mortgage payments.

Metrostudy calculates that 11,000 new homes begin construction for every 30,000 new jobs.

If Tampa Bay "can sustain this level of job growth, the biggest road block for new housing will be the cost of housing versus wage growth, especially with another three to four Federal Reserve interest rate increases anticipated in 2019," the Metrostudy report says.

Rates, which had been at historical lows for several years, are now topping 5 percent.

Starkey Ranch, a new-home community on Pasco County's bustling State Road 54 corridor, had the most construction starts in the third quarter — 384. That was followed by Southfork Lakes in Hillsborough County (358); Epperson (310) and Wiregrass (307), both in Pasco; and Waterset (254), in Hillsborough.

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

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Crystal Sierra, left, and Sarah Sprague, who share a home, are pictured at Holiday Lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. [Courtesy of Crystal Sierra]
    And it’s not all about finances.
  2. Renderings by Arquitectonica of the proposed Red Apple Group condo project in St. Petersburg. Courtesy of Arquitectonica [Courtesy of Arquitectonica]
    $300 million. 45 stories. A little closer to existence.
  3. A group of East Lake residents has erected signs protesting a 44-home development proposed by Tarpon Springs developer Pioneer Homes. Tarpon Springs commissioners recently voted to annex the site into the city. [Courtesy of Marc Washburn]
    The action targets a plan to build 44 homes on land between Keystone Road and Highland Avenue, double what was allowed in the East Lake District.
  4. A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in the Westchase area of Tampa. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2013)
    And a spike in cash sales suggests investors were active in the market.
  5. A proposed bill in the Legislature would set a statewide referendum on whether to amend Florida's constitution to add a year to the period when home buyers can transfer their accumulated benefits under the Save Our Homes cap on property assessments to a new home. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty says going from two years to three would reduce the possibility that construction delays in a booming real estate market would prevent some buyers from meeting the deadline, costing them potentially thousands 
 of dollars in property tax savings. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times (2019)]
    The bill, the idea of Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, would give buyers another year to transfer their tax savings under Florida’s Save Our Homes assessment cap to a home they’ve...
  6. More than 44 percent of people who searched on ApartmentList.com for the Tampa Bay area from June to December were outside the region, according to a report from Apartment List. Percentages in the “Top Three Sources” box represent the share of searches coming from outside the metro area. (Apartment List map) [Apartment List]
    The region trails only Denver, Baltimore and San Diego for the percentage of people from outside the area searching for apartments on Apartment List.
  7. This home in Colonial Hills neighborhood in west Pasco has been vacant for 10 years, neighbors said. A new Pasco County ordinance would require the owners of vacant and rental residences to register their properties with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. [C.T. BOWEN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A new ordinance is supposed to aid sheriff’s deputies and code-enforcement officers dealing with rental or vacant properties.
  8. A beer is pictured in the outdoor games area of Park & Rec on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Towers of Channelside condo association has filed a lawsuit against the bar, as residents complain about noise.
  9. 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.
  10. Downtown Tampa's skyline can be seen in the background of Water Street Tampa's new District Cooling plant at 301 S Nebraska Ave., on Wednesday. The plant produces chilled water that's pumped to most of the buildings in the 56-acre project. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A centralized cooling plant will pump chilled water via underground pipes to every new building in the 56-acre development.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement