Investors scramble to buy older homes near Downtown Tampa

Inventory of available homes is low, realtors say

TAMPA, Fla. - Investors are now going door to door in one Tampa neighborhood, offering cash for homes with no questions asked.

Homes near the soon-to-be-demolished North Boulevard Homes, a former Tampa Housing Authority site, are in high demand. Once those homes are torn down, new homes and apartments are set to go up on the lot.

So are homes just a few minutes away along Palm Avenue and the surrounding area.

Reggie Holland has lived along Palm Avenue his entire life. 

Looking out from his front porch, he has a clear view of the Downtown Tampa skyline.

"It's really, really a pretty picture," he said.

But now, his view is full of construction vehicles and he can hear the sounds of building. New homes are going up just across the street after years of being vacant.

And now, he says investors want his home. He says almost daily, he's getting letters from investors begging him to sell.

The terms they offer could be tempting for some.

"You don't have to fix it up, we'll buy it as is," Holland said the letters often read.  "We'll give you cash, close when you want."

Realtors like Frank Albert, who has helped rehab and rebuild many homes in the Tampa Heights and Seminole Heights neighborhoods, says the area is hugely in demand because of its proximity to downtown Tampa, the Tampa Riverwalk, Channelside and the soon-to-be-built USF Medical School.

"Right now, there's zero inventory on the market. It's hard to find something," he said. "So you have to go and say, hey, do you want to sell your house?

Albert said many home owners in that area are in a really good position from a seller's standpoint.

"For the people that maybe just bought it because it was close to work 20 years ago and didn't really plan on growth or a boom, yeah, they're in a pretty good spot," Albert said.

Albert said many of the lots in that area are worth at least $100,000, depending on location.

While Holland continues to receive the letters from investors, he said his house is a family home and would take a huge offer of money to get him to sell it.

"I grew up here, and my brother," he said. "So it would take an awful lot. I like this neighborhood, the neighbors, we know each other."

For now, he said he and many of the other longtime residents along Palm Avenue are staying put.

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