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Tampa Bay's jump among highest in the state

TAMPA - Tampa Bay homes last month posted some of the biggest price jumps in the state, Florida Realtors said Monday. Median home prices here jumped to about $165,000, 27 percent over those in July 2012.

Prices jumped 20 percent in Miami and 23 percent in Orlando. Tampa Bay also posted a bigger sales increase than those metros, with 3,500 single-family home sales, a 22 percent year-over-year jump.

Why here? A rush of buy-to-rent investors targeting bargains in the Hillsborough and Pasco suburbs has helped boost prices and crimp supplies already tight with buyer demand.

 

Tampa Bay home prices now sit almost directly in the middle of their 2006 peak ($245,000) and 2011 bottom ($107,500), a sign that the local market is still more moderate than the last bubble.

But the seller's market empowered by a skimpy supply of local for-sale homes could further cut into what many home buyers can afford. Hillsborough's home inventory dropped last month to a three-month supply, half the size of a healthy market. And Pinellas' inventory stands at about four months, a 23 percent drop over last year's.

New home listings in Florida have jumped year-over-year every month since December, as sellers enticed by higher prices jump into the market. The median Florida home sold for 18 percent more last month than in the year before, and sales grew 20 percent over July 2012, to more than 21,000 closed deals.

Across the country, median home prices jumped to $213,500, just 7 percent below their 2006 peak. Two years ago, U.S. home prices were 25 percent below their peak.

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