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Tampa no longer for snowbirds and retirees

Tampa expected to outperform expectations the next 3-5 years.

By Anthony SanFilippo
February 2020

While some housing markets in the United States struggle with affordability or even availability, others are flourishing and should continue to do so through at least 2024, if not longer.

Take the Tampa-St. Petersburg market for example. That’s right, people are flocking to this market now rather than just identifying it as a vacation spot or a destination only for snowbirds.

“While a majority of recent movers have come from other parts of Florida, the largest population of new residents still come from the Northeast.”

It, along with several other markets that are doing well, should all outperform initial projections for that market over the next three to five years, according to a study released in December by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

“Some markets are clearly positioned for exceptional longer-term performance due to their relative housing affordability combined with solid local economic expansion,” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Drawing new residents from other states will also further stimulate housing demand in these markets, but this will create upward price pressures as well, especially if demand is not met by increasing supply.”

The 10 most notable markets expected to outperform projections also included Charleston, S.C., Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Colo., Columbus, Ohio, Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas, Fort Collins, Colo., Las Vegas. Ogden, Utah and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

There were a number of factors that made these markets project to be the hottest as far as real estate over the next half decade, including job growth compared to the national average, housing affordability, the structure of the age population, their attractiveness to retirees, how likely they are to attract new residents from out of the area and also the appreciation of home prices over time.

“Potential buyers in these markets will find conditions especially favorable to purchase a home going into the next decade,” said NAR President Vince Malta, a broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco. “The dream of owning a home appears even more attainable for those who move to or are currently living in these markets.”

Retiring in Western Florida has always been a goal for a lot of people, and it still is, as 11 percent of the people who recently moved to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area are age 65 or older.

About 16 percent of the total population in the market (approximately 501,000 people) moved into the area recently, and 65 percent of those are renters.

However, nearly half (49 percent) of those recently moved renters can afford to buy a home at the median price of $220,800 assuming a 20 percent down payment. The median income of individuals who have recently moved to Tampa-St. Petersburg is $50,000, which would also indicate those looking for workforce housing (middle-income earners) are finding what they need in this market.

The median age of these folks moving to the area is 32 years old and 48 percent of them are single individuals, meaning they might be looking for an opportunity to settle down in their new careers.

Meanwhile, the other 52 percent are either married couples or families, looking to set down roots – or as mentioned earlier, retire in the year-wound warmth on the Gulf of Mexico. The average length of time for people to own a home in Tampa-St. Petersburg is 10 years.

While a majority of recent movers have come from other parts of Florida, the largest population of new residents still come from the Northeast, as the NAR data shows the greatest migration flow into the market still comes from the New York and Eastern Pennsylvania area.

Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C. and San Juan, Puerto Rico are other cities that have people waving goodbye and heading for Tampa-St. Petersburg suggesting that people are on the hunt for better opportunities away from some of the larger markets in the country that also face affordability and availability concerns.


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