Is Cold Weather Driving People To Florida?

Yes it’s mighty cold up north with record low temperatures and snowfall particularly in New England and Western New York. Could that be driving the increased sales here in the Tampa Bay area?

Yes single-family home sales are up all across the Tampa Bay area compared to January of last year.

  • Pinellas was up 11.9%
  • Hillsborough was up 6%
  • For all Tampa Bay counties it was up 9.1%

So is this about snowbirds making the move permanently?

Maybe that is part of it, but there are a lot of other factors too.

  • Mortgage rates are still low.
  • The economy is steadily improving.
  • Home prices in the area are still low compared to the rest of the state.

But realtors are still not happy.

The demand is out stripping the supply say many realtors. There is just not enough inventory for all the buyers.

Good homes sell quickly so realtors and buyers have to be “first in the door” to take advantage.

Inventories were down compared to last year. There’s only a 5-month supply of available homes according to many realtors.

Prices Are Up

The median sale price in the greater Tampa Bay area was at $145,000 which is a 6% over last year. Pinellas was at $156,000 and Hillsborough was at $160,000 for a median price.

And with supply so low those prices are bound to continue to go up.

A few of the particularly bright spots for home sales are the cute little “small town” areas like Dunedin and Safety Harbor.

According to one realtor, “People really like the little downtowns. They’re looking for areas they can walk and bike to.”

Single-family homes and condos in these towns are hot right now.

Florida As Whole

Across Florida, sales and prices are up as well. Florida was up 10% in sales compared to a nationwide drop of 5%. Much of that could be attributed to the weather up north however. And who can blame them for wanting to get out of the cold. Isn’t that why many of us are here.

But prices are also a factor.

Home prices in Tampa Bay are still some of the lowest in the state. Only Jacksonville and Pensacola were lower. Miami was at $278,000 and Naples was $708,000. Even Fort Myers was at $171,000. So Tampa Bays relatively modest $156,000 seems like a bargain, particularly when you consider the quality of life and perks available in the area (beaches, sports teams, downtown areas, nightlife).

Yes the real estate market is looking up. Now if can only increase the supply of homes for sale, the market might be able to really get into high gear.