Tampa Bay Business Journal – August 17, 2007
by Michael Hinman
More than half of the homeowners in the Tampa Bay region feel that this is as good a time as any to buy a new home, but getting them to buy is a different story.
Sales for existing homes continue to decline as much as 35 percent in the area while median prices are dropping just 6 percent according to the Florida Association of Realtors. However, a new survey from Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund says many potential buyers are waiting to see how the currently volatile market will play out.
“I’ve had a couple of people tell me that they are going to wait to see what happens next year,” said Rae Anna Conforti, a Real Estate Agent with Prudential Tropical Realty in South Tampa. “With as many homes that are on the market right now, I think there has just been too much bad publicity lately about the market and people are scared of the unknown.”
Harris Interactive conducted the housing survey on behalf of the Insurance Fund in June, asking more than 1,400 homeowners in Florida their thoughts on the current housing market.
Some 49 percent in the Tampa area said right now is a good time to buy a house or condominium compared to 42 percent last year. However, just 25 percent of those respondents said they intend to buy a home themselves in the next two years.
A January report by the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors said available inventory in the area had doubled since the beginning of 2006 and that an increased inventory played into lower prices.
Buyers waiting for larger drops may be missing an opportunity. Lawrence Yun, a senior economist with the National Association of Realtors, said new construction has been drastically reduced, causing existing home median prices to actually rise nearly 2 percent nationwide by early next year.