Believe it or not, Tampa Bay's housing market might be undervalued.
Despite talk of big price increases and fears of another bubble, the average sales price for a bay area home in April was slightly less than the estimated full market value, the research and data firm RealtyTrac says.
Compare that with the findings for San Francisco and a few other parts of the country where homes sold for more than they are probably worth.
RealtyTrac's figures for Tampa Bay "sound about right,'' Charles Richardson, regional senior vice president for Coldwell Banker, said Wednesday. "I believe the values in the bay area are about the best you'll see around Florida. You can buy a lot of house for the money.''
RealtyTrac's analysis grouped homes, townhomes and condos sold in April in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties, and came up with an average sales price for each county. It then compared that with an average full market value for similar properties.
By that measure, the average Pinellas price of $152,272 was 99 percent of full market value. Hillsborough's $165,463 average was 97 percent of value and Pasco's $96,003 price was 96 percent of value. (Smaller Hernando County was not included.)
By contrast, homes in the San Francisco area sold on average for 108 percent of estimated full value while those in Washington, D.C.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; and the Sacramento area of California followed closely at 107 percent.
The highest in Florida was Tallahassee's Leon County, 101 percent.
"Nationwide in April, single-family homes and condos sold for almost exactly 100 percent of their estimated full market value on average, indicating a good balance between supply from sellers and demand from buyers,'' said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac's vice president. "At the local level, however, most markets tipped in favor of either sellers or buyers.''
Richardson sees Tampa Bay's market as skewed more in favor of sellers these days.
"We're in a hot market right now in the sense that there seems to be more buyers than sellers,'' he said. "What I've heard from everyone is that there's not enough inventory right now, which will drive prices upward.''
In April, 14,124 homes, condos and townhomes were on the market in Pinellas and Hillsborough — almost 11 percent fewer than a year ago. Over the same period, the average sale price in the two counties rose about 10 percent, to $226,000 in April.
"It's a pretty good runup,'' Richardson said, "but not the kind of spike in value we got in the early 2000s.''