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Tampa Bay remains Florida homebuyer's most sought-after destination

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Posted at 5:52 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 18:59:08-04

ST. PETE, Fla. — Tampa bay continues to be the most sought-after area in the state. Recent studies continue to show just how popular Tampa Bay is and will continue to be.

Zach Franco has lived in St. Pete for three years as a college student. During that time, he said he has noticed the growth in the area.

"I have seen growth and expansion of development. I mean, literally, behind the camera right now is a 30, 35 story building that's going up, and there's probably seven or eight of them within the next mile," he said.

The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research said Pinellas County is on par to reach 1,016,000 people by 2040.

A study by the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority found Hillsborough County could grow by 40% in that same time frame.

Franco, a Virginia native, said he understands why this is such a hot spot.

"To anybody who doesn't live in Florida, they think it is beaches, Disney, retirement communities. For me, some people who kind of pushed me out to explore the city, different cities, and then just wilderness wild spaces around here. And so I started to learn that Florida is a lot more than when you think it is," he said.

Pinellas Realtor Jennifer Thayer said that's exactly what is driving her clients to buy here.

"What we're hearing, the reason why they're buying, you've got 361 days of sunshine, people are trading in their snowshoes for flip flops, it's just a nice, easier environment," she added.

The number of people who want to experience all that Tampa Bay has to offer means buying a house right now is difficult.

"We're at 19.4% of inventory over last year. That's about a month's inventory. A balanced market is about 6 months," she said.

Florida Realtors reported sales closed for 85,328 single-family houses and 38,772 townhouses and condos in the second quarter of the year. Tampa Bay (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando, and Pasco counties) sold more than any other part of the state. But we are entering a slightly slower period.

"It's a little bit slower not because people don't want to be here but because they're off right now. We'll start to see it pick back up in November and go until April," said Thayer.

Her advice to anyone looking to buy now or later:

"Find a professional. You're definitely going to want to work with someone in a tricky market, you want somebody who can negotiate on your behalf, find the right property, understand what you're looking for, know the neighborhoods," she added.

According to Freddie Mac, a thirty-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 5.52% in June of this year.It was 2.98% last June.