If you peruse the local forums around Tampa Bay you’re bound to see people discussing the housing crisis in the Tampa and St. Pete area. It’s tough for many people who are getting paid local wages that unfortunately are lagging behind the cost of affordable housing. Landlords and leasing agents will typically require not only solid rental history but also an income of minimum 3x the monthly rent. Some locals are speculating that we’re in a bubble and are waiting for it to pop but I’ve seen these same opinions being voiced since I started real estate in 2014. Florida used to be a highly cyclical market with booms and busts but there are some other factors coming into play these days and it may not be as predictable as it once was.
Previously Florida was known as a place where people would buy vacation homes. During a recession the first thing people get rid of are unnecessary luxuries like these secondary homes. There really wasn’t a whole lot of industry to attract high paying jobs and working remotely wasn’t nearly as widespread as it is now in our post covid world, so the real demand for housing in Florida was limited.
Now post covid I’m getting inquiries from people looking to move here who are currently living in places with extreme covid restrictions and want a bit more of that pre-pandemic freedom that us Americans are so used to. On top of that many remote jobs will allow their employees to take payroll in Florida where there is no state income tax. This essentially boosts their employees’ pay with no skin off their employers back.
The unfortunate reality for the locals who already live here is that real estate is still relatively cheap for people moving from higher cost of living areas. Ironically some of the highest cost of living areas are the ones with the most strict covid restrictions. I’ve noticed an uptick in people moving here from California and New York especially and I expect more inquiries from folks in Midwest states like Minnesota and Illinois as these states start implementing more strict regulations.
With that said, let’s discuss The Top 11 Reasons Why Tampa Bay Real Estate Is Still A Great Investment in 2022. I’ll be mostly discussing St. Petersburg but what I’m writing will ring true for all of the Tampa Bay area. If you have any questions while you’re reading this article feel free to call or text me at 727-307-1111 and I’ll be happy to answer any questions!
11. Lack of Covid Restrictions!
This is a very divisive topic but in my opinion these states who are implementing extreme covid measures are either never going to give the rights back to their people or it’s going to take a long time. I’ve never been into politics however I’m grateful that our governor is looking out for personal freedom unlike most of the rest of the world.
Florida residents are currently protected from discrimination if they are not vaccinated. When passing this bill Ron Desantis stated “In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”
10. No State Income Tax
As I mentioned previously, Florida does not charge a state income tax. Apparently the sales tax, property tax, death tax, rental income tax, Federal income tax, Social Security, doc stamps and I’m sure I’m missing a few more are enough. The older I get the more angry I get about paying taxes. I understand the essential taxes that are needed to keep our society moving but seeing our government print more money, give it away to other countries while our dollar loses value is not ideal!
9. Property Value is still under the national average
Zillow is telling me as of January 2022 the average home price in the United States is $320,662 whereas the average price for a home in St. Pete is $312,628. By most measures, the Tampa Bay area is an above average place to live that still has a property value average below national average. How long will that last? You can see Zillow is reporting a 16.4% increase in value nationally this past year and 26.5% in St. Pete. We’re catching up quick and will no doubt surpass the national average at some point.
Not only are we seeing people from other parts of the country with higher costs of living moving to Florida, we are seeing people from more expensive parts of Florida like Miami and Fort Lauderdale coming to this area too. Believe me when I say that St. Pete is the best city in Florida. I don’t even think that’s an opinion anymore. We have local culture, beaches, lots of sunshine and a limited risk of hurricanes compared to the rest of the state. In my experience it seems that people operate at a slower pace and are a little more friendly compared to the rest of the state as well. We live on a peninsula which is almost an island so it’s almost like we’re on island time.
Tampa is a bit more high paced and business oriented but right across the bridge in St. Pete we know how to keep it real and enjoy life. I don’t mean to trash Tampa too much, I would love to live there if St. Pete didn’t exist. With that said, even a lot of Tampa folk agree that St. Pete is the superior city.
8. St. Pete is the Sunshine City
Don’t mean to brag but we have the Guinness World Record for most consecutive days of sunshine in the world and possibly in the known universe. St. Pete averages 361 days of sunshine per year and the record is 768 consecutive days. For someone like me who had to go to a tanning booth when I lived in Germany to get my body some Vitamin D, this is the perfect place. I’m sitting in the morning sun right now while writing this. Yes it gets stupid hot and humid during the summer but the winters are absolutely beautiful. Even during the summer it cools down enough at night to go enjoy life.
7. You can live without a car if you want
We’re not as mass transit friendly as actual big cities like New York or Chicago but we’re getting there. If you live Downtown and work remotely you can essentially do everything you need to do without a car. I meet people all the time that don’t have cars here. Seeing how our weather is typically pretty good it’s not too hard to get around on a bike. You can walk to get food or have fun and get yourself an Amazon Prime membership for everything else if you don’t have a problem with our government subsidizing their employees wages with our taxes. I do but it’s so convenient I can’t take a moral stand here.
2022 is the year that our new Sunrunner buses are going into service. These fancy hybrid electric buses aim to provide a pleasant and easy to use mass transit experience. With money pre-loaded on an app you will be able to easily get from Downtown to the beach. The beach is not fun to park at so this will be a great way to ease up congestion in the area.
This article sums up their goal “Other pitched benefits include bringing more foot traffic to local businesses, promoting tourism spending through access to attractions, increasing access to jobs and streamlining traffic movement for delivery drivers and local customers.” These buses will be in service sometime in Summer 2022.
6. A variety of fun places to visit in the local area.
Most everyone will hear about Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater when they first start looking into the area but we also have some awesome little towns throughout the area that are fun to live in or just take a day trip to. Gulfport, Dunedin and Safety Harbor are all little waterside cities with walkable mainstreets. Tarpon Springs has a walkable area known as the Sponge Docks where you’ll find a huge Greek culture, I’ve heard this area is actually the biggest Greek population in the world outside of Greece. Greek people came here and used their sponge collecting skills to build a small economy around this town. There’s also some beautiful Victorian style mansions here if that’s your thing.
Besides those small towns we of course have the beach cities. With 20+ miles of beaches, we have a bunch of small cities all with a slightly different feel. Starting on the southern most point, Pass-a-Grille feels like an island because it basically is one, it has no through traffic. St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and Madeira are all a bit more touristy and busy. Continue north and you’ll run into Indian Rocks and Redington which have more of a small beach town feel. Keep going north and you’ll find the infamous Clearwater Beach which is a bustling tourist destination, a walkable city area right on the water where you can find plenty of debauchery during Spring Break season if that’s your thing.
5. Number one hottest housing market in 2022 according to Zillow
We’re number 1! I believe Austin, Texas was #1 last year. I visited Austin and honestly I wasn’t impressed. Everyone talked it up so much my expectations were through the roof. Seems like a pretty cool town for what it is but they don’t have beaches and it seems like somewhere that is probably better to visit than to live in. That’s just my limited opinion after spending 5 days there so don’t crucify me. It seemed very spread out, busy and somewhat impersonal compared to St. Pete. I did see someone casually wearing a cowboy outfit which was pretty cool though.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we get this badge of honor two or more years in a row. Florida is becoming an attractive option for many people and as I mentioned before, the Tampa Bay area is the best place to live in the entire state.
4. Accommodations For Electric Vehicles
EV’s are becoming more and more popular. Even some of our buses are fully electric. I bought a Tesla last year and I feel like a VIP sometimes. There are designated EV parking spots to charge your vehicle and as of now I can almost always find one easily. This is a nice perk when it’s sometimes hard to park Downtown. The nice thing is you typically just pay for parking and the charging is included. There are also places to charge where you don’t pay anything at all.
Florida is probably the ideal place to own an EV because battery range lasts longer than it would in a colder climate. Also Tesla’s have their batteries sealed so you have much less risk going through deep water on the road after a heavy rain. On top of that you can get solar installed on your home and charge your car with the sun, how cool is that? Rumor is that the new Tesla Cybertruck will have an option to have solar panels which would add 15-20 miles to your range per day. If you don’t have a garage that might not be a bad idea!
In addition to the free chargers we have a solid amount of Tesla superchargers in the area. Most are at the Wawa gas stations where it’s easy to kill 20-30 minutes getting a coffee or a sandwich. I’ve never seen a wait at the superchargers either so that makes life a bit easier.
3. Kava Bars!
Not sure how much this would improve your property value but kava bars do make this area a more pleasant place to live. Most people have no idea what kava is. I had never heard of it until they started popping up around St. Pete. Apparently St. Pete is the kava capital of the world with the most kava bars per capita.
What is kava? It’s a ground up root that originated in the south pacific. It tastes pretty bad on it’s own but it gives you a slight relaxing buzz. I get it mixed with either almond or coconut milk and they also make dessert type drinks with it if you want something sweet. It’s probably the best alternative to alcohol because you can feel nice and relaxed but don’t ever get sick from it and don’t need to drink a whole lot. It’s easy to meet people at kava bars because it’s like everyone has had a drink or two to loosen up but no one is turning up and getting crazy. I’m taking a break from alcohol currently to try to get less fat so these kava bars are my go to spots!
Unlike alcohol it’s easier to function so you could potentially get some kava and do some work if you wanted. It’s relaxing without being intoxicating. These kava bars also serve kratom which apparently is known to be a bit more addictive since it binds to your opiate receptors without actually being an opiate. I’m not a huge fan of kratom but kava is amazing! If you want to go somewhere with a chill atmosphere and a younger crowd, kava bar is the way to go. I think having this option is attractive to the growing population of people who are wanting to be social without alcohol. A lot of the people that hang out here are tech crowd/cryptocurrency nerds so that sort of new money could definitely add to the property values around here.
2. Boat Life!
It’s one thing to live near an ocean or a lake. It’s another thing to be able to take your boat to islands, sandbars, restaurants and different cities around the area. This is especially true when we have boat weather year round. It’s a little cold to be in the water in the winter but you can still be out on the water getting some sun.
You can buy a boat and keep it at your waterfront house or utilize one of the many boat launches around the area. You can do individual boat rentals or do like I do and get a boat club membership where you just reserve a boat, show up with the boat ready and just pay for gas when you bring it back. Boat club is the way to go if you don’t mind putting your weekend reservations in a month or so ahead of time. If you end up with Freedom Boat Club tell them I sent you and I’ll get a free month! They have 20+ locations around the Tampa Bay area so it’s easy to switch it up and go visit new spots. Here’s the link. If you sign up let them know I sent you so I can get a free month!
Whatever your financial position you can find a good way to get on the water. Most people just enjoy getting on kayaks or paddleboards to enjoy nature a bit. If you want to park your mega yacht we have houses with enough waterfront or marinas for that too.
1. Massive Development in Downtown Tampa
Waterstreet Tampa is a massive project which aims to revitalize the Downtown Tampa core. According to this article on Axios.com, Water Street will have
- 1 million square feet of new office space (including Tampa’s first office towers in 25 years).
- 1 million square feet of retail and cultural spaces.
- 3,500 residences, both rental and for-sale.
- 692 new and 727 renovated hotel rooms, including the city’s first five-star hotel, The Tampa EDITION.
This article asks the question “Is Tampa the new Austin, Texas?” Culturally yes I think that’s what they’re aiming for. A tech hub to attract businesses and talented individuals.
I think Tampa is trying it’s best to emulate what we have in St. Pete. A walkable downtown which serves as a one stop destination for people visiting and living here to go out and have fun. Currently Tampa has multiple districts but for the longest time Downtown seemed extremely underdeveloped. It was a concrete jungle without much to do unless you had to go to work there. This project is no doubt reinventing the Downtown area which will make Tampa a much more desirable place to live.
The Tampa Bay area still has room to grow. Florida has been undervalued for a while. I personally think in Tampa Bay we’re transitioning out of a cyclical tourist based economy to a more sustainable long term place to live where many people know they can enjoy their lives here and put down roots. This may not be the case for the rest of Florida where their economies are still based on tourism, however the Tampa Bay area is attracting remote workers and big business. We are getting put on the map pretty quickly and I think soon we’ll have a similar reputation as a big city like Miami. We are a progressive city in a conservative state. You get to enjoy a local culture filled with artwork, events, good food, great weather and nice people – all without the crazy covid restrictions that you see in some other parts of he world. Thanks for reading and please give me a call or a text at 727-307-1111 if you’d like to get your real estate search started!