HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — How long can this housing boom run? Will there be a bust or even a break for homebuyers in the near future? Veteran South Tampa realtor and market analyst Tom Leber predicts the seller-friendly market will run through 2021.
We met Leber at a modest South Tampa home with a price tag of over half a million dollars. The house had been on the market for two days and already, Leber said, the listing agent had received offers.
Leber and other experts say factors that drove sales to new highs this year -- migration to Florida, low interest rates and a supply crisis -- could push prices even higher in the next few months. “There's about 1000 people moving into our market on a monthly basis,” he said.
For now the market is only getting tghter. In some Tampa neighborhoods inventory has dropped by 40 percent since March 2020 yet home sales in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties shot up 18 percent during the same time frame.
Crystal Brown is among those who decided to cash in this year. “I was just shocked that so many people were really interested,” said Brown, who walked away with $95,000 more than she paid for a Carrollwood townhouse 5 years ago.
University of South Florida Economics Professor Dr. Chris Jones predicts buyers won't see any relief in housing costs for 18 to 24 months. “I don't think you are going to have the drop off the ledge like you did in 2008,” he said.
Jones says it will take another uptick in mortgage rates, an increase in the number of homes built and a price point at which people can no longer afford to buy homes for prices to drop.
“I think you are going to have a slower decline but still a decline over a relatively brief period of time,” Jones said, predicting home prices in Tampa Bay are about six months from hitting their peak.
ABC Action News pulled sales data for Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties for January 2020 and January 2021. The price of a single-family home in Hillsborough shot up 15 percent, in Pinellas county the increase topped 17 percent and Pasco county saw a 19 percent increase year-over-year.
Certified Property Appraiser Danielle Evans says she's often hired by the banks to determine whether the market value equals the asking price. “That doesn't mean a bank will actually fund that much for the loan on it,” she said.
But cash buyers don't need the bank's money and in some cases are willing to pay over and above the appraised value, driving prices even higher.
Those selling a home in order to upsize can use the profit and equity toward the purchase of a new home but for new buyers experts say the best option is to sit back and wait 12 to 24 months in order to get a better deal.