Florida has been the beneficiary of a statewide conservative effort to promote the job sector. Efforts to improve jobs in the Sunshine State have been met with relative success, as Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since April 2008. Tampa, for all intents and purposes, was a contributing factor to the improvements. Tampa now boasts an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, just under the national average. No more than one year ago, Tampa had an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, representing a year-over-year decrease of 1.6 percent.

The Tampa housing market continues to show signs of life, with affordability serving as the main facilitator. Accordingly, Tampa continues to remain one of the nation’s most affordable markets. Even though Tampa is currently above historical affordability levels, homeowners allocate less than 8 percent of their income to monthly mortgage payments. That is less than half of the national average. As such, Tampa could attract many first-time buyers. Millennials, in particular, should find Tampa to be an attractive destination because of affordability alone.

Affordability is likely the reason behind international interest in the Tampa housing market. Having said that; Tampa has become a primary target for foreign investors. Nearly 11 percent of Tampa’s home sales were foreign in nature. In fact, Tampa has surpassed Miami in terms of sales to non-U.S. residents. Looking to escape the cold, Canadians make of the largest pool of foreign investors taking stakes in Tampa.

The Tampa housing market recovery is incredibly localized, as is the case with most cities. Nonetheless, neighborhoods in the Tampa area perform at different levels. Trulia has run the data and found the following neighborhoods to be the most popular:
• Old Seminole Heights
• Tampa Palms
• Hunters Green
• Sun Bay South
• Davis Island

Tampa real estate has certainly faced its fair share of challenges since the recession, but optimism abounds. Experts have every reason to believe that Tampa is heading in the right direction, despite its high foreclosure rates. Forecasts already call for more appreciation and the job sector should support a steady balance of supply and demand. Moreover, affordability should continue to attract a rather sizable Millennial population to take advantage of the equity that current owners have finally reestablished. Perhaps even more importantly, are the numbers released by the latest S&P/Case-Shiller index. Out of 20 of the country’s major metros, Tampa real estate exhibited the strongest monthly increase in home prices at the end of 2014. The Tampa housing market registered a healthy 0.8 percent gain. Homes are now well about their post-recession lows and nearly back to their 2006 highs.

Tampa Housing Market Summary:

• Current Median Home Price:$145,000
• Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
• 1-Year Job Growth Rate: 1.3%
• Population: 352,957
• Median Household Income: $45,880
• Average Days On Market: 78

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