Yes home sales continue to go up at a nice rate… a solid 4.4% over the last three months compared to last year.
But home prices are not going up at the same rate. The median home price was down 9.3%, or an average of $145,000, during that same 3-month period.
I suppose if you’re a first-time buyer, or are in a lower income bracket, this is not bad news. It does make our region one of the the most affordable places to buy a home in many ways in all of Florida.
But if you’re one of the many homeowners who are underwater with their mortgages then you’d like to see prices go up a bit more quickly.
Tampa Bay Has Always Been “Inexpensive”
Compared to other major metro areas in Florida, Tampa Bay’s median home prices are quite low. And they’ve pretty much been that way for a long time.
There are nine other metro areas with higher median home prices.
- Naples-Marco Island – $342,500
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale – $270,000
- Sarasota-Bradenton-Northport – $195,850
- Fort Walton Beach-Destin – $192,500
- Jacksonville – $186,500
- Cape Coral-Ft. Meyers – $180,000
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford – $179,950
- Gainesville – $181,000
- Tallahassee – $175,000
- Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater – $145,000
How come we are lagging so far behind?
Well it’s really just about our reputation. We don’t seem to attract the big-spenders or the well-healed to our area. They tend to go to Naples and Miami. You could argue that the Tampa Bay area is a well-kept secret. This can be both good and bad for home owners.
That secret may be great for some, but for homeowners looking to see their investment grow, it’s not so great.
Older Homes Bring Down Median Price
And it’s true our area has a lot of homes that are smaller and were built over 30 years ago. Most of the homes built in the last 15 years are bigger and nicer and have higher values. But those older homes and neighborhoods are still relatively inexpensive. Again, good for new home buyers but it does keep the average down a bit.
Still, we all know we live in a wonderful area with far more perks than many of the areas rated higher. Not many areas have three professional sport teams, a thriving night-life, some of the best beaches in the world — and can claim to be affordable. Personally I think Tampa Bay has much more to offer than any of the metros higher on the list. And sooner or later the word will get out and those home prices will go up.
And then we’ll be calling this time frame “the good old days.”
Maybe we just don’t know just how lucky we are.