Sizzling seller's market makes buying a home difficult in Tampa Bay

Home for sale
Posted at 4:59 PM, Oct 15, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Incredibly challenging. That’s how some potential homebuyers are describing the hunt for real estate.

Tampa Bay is in the midst of a hot seller’s market, which means it’s great for anyone looking to sell their home but complicated for those looking to buy.

Robin and Ramon Herrera aren’t too picky. They recently relocated from Connecticut and have been renting a home in Tampa Bay. Now, the couple would like to purchase a home. They are hoping to find some land, a few extra rooms, closet space, and maybe a pool.

Yet, finding their little slice of paradise is proving to be a challenge.

“We see one we like that comes on the market one hour and the next hour it can be gone,” explained Ramon as he and his wife toured a home Friday in South Tampa.

Herrera’s real estate agent Stephen Willis of Keller Williams Tampa Central has one word for the current market: crazy.

“I’m not the only one who will tell you that. A lot of my colleagues still sit here and say you know it’s not for the faint of heart because you have to be on your A-game,” Willis explained.

Willis says homes are staying on the market just 21 days, according to Stellar MLS via Broker Metrics. That’s down 60% from a year ago, and Tampa Bay’s inventory is less than half of the already low national average.

“You’re looking at a home and 10 minutes later there are offers and multiple offers on it. Truly I have been at a home, called the real estate agent and said I’ll submit and offer, and she said don’t worry I’ve already got 5 really good offers on it,” Willis added.

On the flip side, Willis says homes he is selling will often get 10-12 offers within the first 24 hours.

Cash sales are also up significantly, as much as 123% in Hillsborough County over the past year.

“They’re paying cash on hand and how can you compete with that?” Ramon Herrera questioned.

Some sellers are even asking buyers to waive inspections or pay the difference if a house appraises lower than it is listed for.

However, there are good signs. Inventory is slowly ticking up across Tampa Bay, which is helping to cool down the sizzling seller’s market. Interest rates also remain mostly competitive.

The Herreras are starting to feel a little stressed—but say they’re not ready to give up. “We’re starting to feel that disappointment and that stress of okay our lease agreement is coming up and getting closer and closer so we’re starting to get those feelings now,” Ramon added.

Willis suggests if you see a house you like to act immediately, and if you can expand your location radius, that’s helpful too.

Robin Herrera can’t wait to find a home of their own. “I would love to find something and just have my own home. It’s nice to rent but your own home, you put your mark on it.”