Housing Inventory Hits New Low in Florida

Housing Inventory Hits New Low in Florida

Housing inventory, at least the desirable homes in the Tampa Bay area are getting harder and harder to find. However, real estate is heating up. Now is the time to buy… if you can negotiate with the investment buyers and lack of decent finds.

Florida has a reputation for having a plethora of foreclosed or distressed houses. That reputation is quickly becoming underserved. The two years worth of inventory has dwindled to a few months. The buyers market is fast becoming a seller’s market, especially in the mid-priced range. This is great for the real estate market, but the problems for buyers are not getting better. Even with the economic recovery improving slower than a snail’s pace, the real estate market in Tampa is good… or seems to be.

Perception is only half the story. What most buyers are finding is a twofold problem. First, investors are seeing the recovery and are scooping up the decent properties. They have the advantage of paying cash for the properties, shortening the time to settlement, and making them an easy choice for sellers. What seller wouldn’t prefer to have a guaranteed cash sale contract without a financing contingency over a buyer who needs to wait for loan approval?

The second problem is that many homeowners are waiting to list. They do this for several reasons. First, they are waiting to see if prices increase and holding out hope they will. Others worry that even if they do sell, getting approval to buy another would be hard to get. Still, other homeowners owe more than their homes are worth or late on their mortgages. It makes it difficult to sell. While there are many homes that have been foreclosed, banks are loath to release a lot of them to keep prices higher. But even the inventory of those homes is shrinking.

So what about new homes? Most builders are slow to jump back into the market. Some are getting back into the fray, and several housing communities are planned, but building takes time and that means that people looking now are going to have to wait.

Rising home prices could help the situation and encourage homeowners to sell, banks to release foreclosed housing inventory and builders to build. This would be good news for those looking at the real estate market in Tampa Bay!

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