Tampa Housing Market Update 2020

Inventory may never be this low again: 5 reasons you should buy or sell right now

OK, home buyers, I get it – it may be hard for you to find the home fitting your exact specifications with inventory at an all-time low. But patience is key, and hanging in there may bring great rewards, even if expectations need to be adjusted.

Think of it this way: The house you buy now doesn’t have to be your forever home. Instead, think of it as a five-year investment. Equity builds with every passing year, making it possible to afford that house you really lust after – you know, the one with the walk-in pantry and the wine cellar, or with the pool and the gazebo, or the soaring-ceilinged foyer and the clerestory windows – whatever your heart desires. 

And you sellers out there? Same principle, if you’re looking to downsize. Cash-out now. Rent for a while as you wait for the right home. 

Your Top 5 ReasonsTampa Housing Market 2020

#1 Inventory may never be this low again. See the January “market snapshot” I’ve included for you, outlining what’s happening in both

Hillsborough and Pinellas. Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., consulting economist for Greater Tampa REALTORS, says our region is a microcosm of what’s going on nationally, with a strong job market and other factors driving up demand, but without corresponding inventory to satisfy that demand. Nationally, inventory is lower than any time since at least 1983.

#2 Home prices are going up. Consider this cnbc.com headline: “Home price gains continued to heat up in November, with Phoenix, Charlotte and Tampa leading the way, S&P Case-Shiller index says.” Did you notice Tampa??? It’s one of three cities leading the gain in the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which is considered the “gold standard” for tracking appreciation. Nationally, home prices rose 3.5% in November, up from 3.2% in October. If you like to drill down, here are the top-three numbers from the 20-city composite Index: Phoenix (5.9%), Charlotte (5.2%), and Tampa (5.0%) leading the gains. “Tampa is the third-fastest price-appreciating city, behind one on the west coast and only one on the east coast,” Eisenberg says.

#3 Interest rates are low. Freddie Mac just reported a three-year low of 3.45% on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. According to housingwire,com, it’s the cheapest rate since October 2016, and it’s almost a full percentage point below the 4.41% recorded a year earlier.

#4 These economic conditions are likely to hold. “The market is strong, and these national factors are going to continue. There’s no expectation that the labor market is going to get weak suddenly or interest rates are going to go up; they’re not – the feds told us that,” Eisenberg says. “I am not on recession watch.”

#5 Homeowner return on investment is high. Financially speaking, only good things can be expected from buying, selling and owning a house. Here’s another headline for you: “Average U.S. Home Seller Profits Hit $65,500 in 2019, Another New High.” This story comes from ATTOM Data Solutions’ Year-End 2019 U.S. Home Sales Report. The figure cited is a 13-year high.

Now Here’s Your Market Snapshot for Hillsborough County

January saw 1,250 homes sold with a median selling price of $257,500. Remember, the median is not an average; it’s that home-selling price number right smack in the middle of the list. This dollar amount represents a selling price up 7.4% over last year. Homes are selling at a faster clip, too, thereby shrinking inventory even further. There is less than two months’ worth of available inventory, a rule-of-thumb considered quite low. In fact, this low number is down almost 43% over last year. Also, homes were snapped up more quickly than ever – after less than 60 days on the market!

And Here’s Your Market Snapshot for Pinellas County

The January stats tell virtually the same story, with 862 homes sold and a median selling price of $267,000. One slight difference here: Home sales were up 11.6% in Hillsborough but more than 23% in Pinellas! Inventory and days on the market are virtually identical to Hillsborough’s. However, inventory is shrinking at a faster rate, comparatively, in Pinellas.

As always, if you’re buying or selling, I can lead you to great houses and the best deals for your pocketbook! Give me a shout