ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — If no new single-family homes were to hit the market in the next month in Pinellas County, there would be none left to sell, said real estate agent Liane Jamason.
Jamason, broker and owner of Dwell Real Estate, says it’s a similar situation across Tampa Bay thanks to a "perfect storm" of high demand and low inventory. She says she's never seen anything like it in her 15 years in the business.
“Literally right now we have 27 days of homes left in Pinellas County and Hillsborough and Pasco are about the same,” Jamason said. “We’re at the lowest inventory we’ve had in 25 years—it’s a crazy market.”
Year-over-year median sale prices in Tampa Bay have gone up big time, according to data from the Florida Realtors Association. In Pinellas County, the median sale price for a single-family home is $330,000, up 18 percent compared to the same time last year. Similarly in Pasco County, the median sale price on a single-family home has increased to $275,000. In Hillsborough, the median sale price on a single-family home has surpassed $300,000.
Statewide, the median sale price in Florida for a single-family home is now $314,900.
What’s causing the craziness?
Jamason says there are several factors, starting with the pandemic.
“We saw a lot of sellers not wanting to put their homes on the market because they were afraid of sick strangers coming into their homes,” she said.
“Couple that with people who are working from home now and maybe most spouses need a home office and decided they really need more space or they need that pool if they’re going to be at home more.”
Historically low interest rates are also driving current demand, putting buyers in a much better position to afford more house than they might’ve been able to just a few years ago, Jamason said.
But that’s about where benefits end for buyers. The market is heavily favoring sellers right now.
Jamason says you’ll likely be up against several other offers on a home, and offers that are well over the listing price, so you’ll have to be aggressive to be competitive.
“It’s tough because you’re up against investors, too, that are trying to take advantage so it sounds crazy but make cash offers if you possibly can,” Jamason said.
But for most buyers who likely can’t afford to pay cash, she also has these suggestions:
- Act fast: If a home that fits your budget and criteria hits the market, see it immediately because it will likely be gone within days if not hours.
- Limit contingencies in contracts: Opt for shorter inspection periods, be willing to pay over appraisal value.
- Write a letter: Try to appeal to the seller to convince them to take your offer.
- Contribute more to initial escrow
On the flip side, for people who might be on the fence about putting them home on the market, Jamason says now is the time. One of her recent listings just sold for more than $100,000 over asking.
“If you can sell, sell it,” she said. “I’m telling sellers to list your house on a Friday, prepare to have an all-day open house Saturday and Sunday and you’ll probably have multiple offers by Monday.”
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