The Tampa Bay Real Estate Market is now a Seller’s Market

Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 9:35PM

By: Keith Gordon

Low Tampa Bay home inventory and the historically low interest rates now hovering at 3.5% is encouraging the builders to resume new construction. The newest Tampa MLS listings are now spotted with renderings of proposed homes. Buyers have been frustrated for the better part of a year trying to compete with the voracious appetite of other home buyers, investors and the billions committed to Tampa Bay by Blackstone Investments.

What happened with predictions of the naysayers and gloom-and-doomers forecasting the next wave of foreclosures that were to drive the Hillsborough and surrounding housing market to new lows? What happened was banks held back inventories, the Fed keep liquidity high, driving interests rates to 3.5% and the never-ending flow of short sales drove these unfortunates into the rental market. These factors all drove up the demand for homes.

Tampa Bay now has a seller’s market on our hands. Great news for all Florida as construction jobs will return and all the benefits that come along with the resurgence of the supporting ancillary industries. Home flipping is in full swing as well. Our website has seen a steady flow of new flat fee MLS listings by builders, home-flippers and by owner “self-represented” sellers. Many buyers that we have worked with have found that the Hillsborough and Pinellas homes they are interested in fly off the market within a day or two.  The seller often gets several offers within just days when priced right.   These sellers are taking advantage of our flat fee MLS listing plans since it allows them to list property thousands below market due the savings of 50% in commissions. Right now it is typical for a home listed in the greater Tampa Bay MLS priced between $500,000-$800,000 to sell within days if priced right. The key to selling under $150,000 in Tampa Bay is having a roof with at least 7 years of remaining useful life.

But, we do have risks ahead of us that could put the brakes on this fledgling two-year upswing in Tampa Bay home buying. That would be, in particular, the debt ceiling cliff-hanger that awaits the US Congress in the coming months. If they play the same games as last year, the real estate market could come to a screeching halt, interests rates could spike and home sales would stop temporarily. It’s the same wall of worry that drives stocks prices higher and higher. We Americans will continue to believe, speculate and dream.