The Tampa Bay Times reported today that the California-based housing valuation and analytics firm, Clear Capital, is predicting the Tampa Bay area housing prices to increase 7.4 percent during 2012.
Every year there are a lot of predictions about what the new year will hold. Because I see the real estate market from street level, it is often hard for me to buy into the visions of someone else’s crystal ball. This year, however, I think Clear Capital may be onto something.
Yesterday, I held an Open House at my listing in Westwood Lakes (14606 Fetterbush Way—4bd, 3ba, bonus room, pool/spa, huge fenced backyard—check it out, it is really nice!). I was expecting 4 to 5 groups of people to come during my 2 hour stay. Instead, I didn’t even have time to put up my last 2 signs in the yard because there were already people at the door at precisely 1:00! There was a steady stream of visitors for 2 ½ hours.
If yesterday is any indication of the amount of Westchase area buyers there will be in 2012, then I think we are in for a great year. A lot of the visitors that came to my Open House were currently renting and would be ready to buy in the Spring or Summer. As the day went on and I kept hearing the same Spring/Summer buying time, it struck me that we may have far more demand than supply during peak buying season.
As I have reported before, our 33626 inventory is already down about 50 percent from the beginning of 2011. Houses in the area go pending everyday, which indicates that there is still buyer demand even during the historically “slower” buying months. Interest rates for 30-Year fixed rate loans were below 4 percent last week, with no guarantee that they will remain at these low levels for the whole year ahead.
With all of these factors combined it is very easy for me to recommend to buyers that they BUY. It’s time to jump off the fence and take that leap of faith. When you find a house that fits your needs and is in your price range, go ahead and make an offer. To all the renters out there waiting for the summer: be open to the possibility of buying sooner rather than waiting to the end of your lease. The last thing you want is to be scrambling around looking for a house at the last minute.
None of us have a crystal ball that shows us with 100 percent certainty what will happen over the next year. Obviously, there is always the possibility of unforeseen challenges that could negatively affect the economy. But, before any news ever breaks about real estate prices increasing or decreasing, we real estate agents see it firsthand. There is an energy in the market; a buzz so to speak. From what I am observing, at the beginning of this year, there is a buzz in the air.
Melanie Atkinson is a Realtor with The Wood Team at Coldwell Banker. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or Melanie@WoodTeamRealty.com.
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