Tampa Bay Real Estate Investment Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Investing in Tampa Bay

If you are planning to invest or buy a property in Tampa Bay, you need to read this guide. Get unbiased and critical information on the hottest spots for real estate investors and on the current development trends.

 

Overview

Greater Tampa Bay consists of three counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco. The three major cities are Tampa, Saint Petersburg and Clearwater.

Tampa Bay area has more than 2.6 million people and is projected to hit 3.3 million by 2020. The majorly  of the population growth is in Hillsborough and Pasco counties. The reason for the growth is the availability of land. 

Who Lives in Tampa Bay?

The three counties have a slightly different demographic (U.S. Census), the most diverse is in Hillsborough county with 17% of it’s population being foreign born. 

What People Do for a Living?

The first industries that allowed Tampa to thrive in the 1900 s were the cigar and phosphate business. While the phosphate industry still exists, and it employs 6,000 people according to the Florida Phosphate Council, the cigar industry had a different fate. J.C. Newman Cigar Company is the last surviving cigar factory in Ybor City.

Currently, the five largest employers in the Tampa Bay area are:

  1. Publix Super Markets – 37,572 employees
  2. BayCare Health System – 27,600 employees
  3. Hillsborough County School System – 25,170
  4. Raymond James Financial – 18,550
  5. MacDill Air Force Base – 18,000
  6. HCA West Florida Division – 17,000

Companies that have HQ in Tampa Bay are Jabil, Tech Data, The Penny Hoarder, Home Shopping Network, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, Citigroup, Amazon, SouthEast Personnel Leasing, USAA, and Welbilt.

Where are the highest rated schools?

Hillsborough County Schools

  • South Tampa – zip code 33629
  • Lithia – zip code  33547
  • New Tampa – zip code  33647
  • Westchase – zip code  33626
  • Lutz – zip code  33549
  • Thonotosasa – zip code 33592
Pasco County Schools
  • Wesley Chapel – zip code 33544
  • Land O Lakes – zip code 34638
  • Trinity – zip code  34655

Pinellas County Schools

  • Clearwater – zip code  33765
  • Dunedin – zip code 34698
  • Palm Harbor and East Lake – zip codes 34685, 34683
  • St Petersburg – zip codes 

    33710, 33709

 

What is like to live in Tampa Bay?

Most newcomers are attracted to Tampa Bay by the weather,the beautiful beaches and the low cost of housing. 

If you like boating, fishing and kayaking, you will love living here. Tampa Bay is also great for sports fans: Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bucks, the Rays and the USF Bulls.

The main negative is the lack of good paying jobs. The are plenty of jobs, unemployment is at 3.6% and job growth is estimated at 2.3%. However, the median household income is still at $56,137, while the median sold home price is $237,800 (Zillow stat)

Another concern is the lack of good transportation and  as a result traffic congestion.  

Tampa Bay Cities and Neighborhoods

Lithia Real Estate Market

About Lithia

Lithia, Florida is a land of past and present, old and new. It’s a land of stately oaks, towering pines, hardwood hammocks and river cypress swamps; yet a land resisting urban sprawl and development from it’s big brother Brandon just nine miles to the north. 

Some say Lithia has been “rediscovered”; until the early 1980s, the community remained largely agrarian, with large farms providing citrus, cattle, and milk to neighboring towns.

Today though, groups like U-CAN (United Citizen Action Network) and R-LAND (the Rural Lithia Area Neighborhood Defense) are working hard to protect their land against what county planners say is inevitable: that the area south of the Alafia River, which includes Lithia, will swell to more than half-a-million people by 2025.

Real Estate Trends

Lithia is most well known for the famous Fishhawk communities, Fishhawk Trails and Fishhawk Ranch. Fishhawk Trail is a guarded, gated community with custom homes on half-to one -acre sites surrounded by towering oaks. 

The community offers a six-mile-long natural preserve trail system with a catwalk over Fishhawk Creek, as well as a recreation center and pavilion, tennis,  roller hockey, playgrounds and more.

Fishhawk Ranch is an award-winning, master-planned community offering residens an enclosed community-center life with neighborhood cafes, bars and restaurants, a movie house, skate park,  aquatic center with water-slide, on-site daycare, and 20 miles of trails that connect the community’s distinctive villages and parks.

Fishhawk Ranch sits on 4,400 acres, 1500 of which are reserved for conservation: the community received recognition from the National Arbor Day Foundation and the State of Florida for it’s work in saving trees during development. The 9000+ homes in Fishhawk vary in price from $159,000 for a townhome to $700,000+.

Older single-family homes are still available on country acreage outside the major new developments; you can find a 3/2 on a country acres for $260,00, as well as undeveloped acres at reasonable prices. Despite booming planned developments and excellent schools, the median home price in Lithia is still $336,276.

Sale and Rent Prices

  • $336,276 Median Price, 1.3%  One Year Price Increase
  • $1,750 Rent list price
  • $0.98 Rent list price / sq ft

 

 

 

Ruskin Real Estate Market

About Ruskin

Think Ruskin, think inlets, islets, tomatoes and fishing. Think Ruskin, think revitalization and redevelopment; think preservation of the past. Ruskin Florida, once considered off-the beaten-path, is now beating a path of it’s own as one of Florida’s most progressive and well-preserved west coast communities.

Situated on the shores of Tampa Bay, the Little Manatee River and the Ruskin Inlet, Ruskin is about 16 miles southeast of Tampa. It’s population of 17,208, 38% of which is Hispanic, is expected to more than double by 2025; in an area with just a little over 15.5 square miles.

 A strong movement is underway to incorporate, to invigorate the once thriving downtown, and to preserve the area’s many natural treasures.

Real Estate Trends

The community plan for Ruskin  today calls for residents and visitors alike to “tread lightly” on the delicate ecosystem they call home. It values” nature over commercialism,” “star-filled skies over the glare of city lights,” and “the sounds of crickets and frogs” over that of traffic.

The community itself comprises four distinct neighborhoods. “Old Ruskin” is an area of single-family homes to the west; east of downtown and west of I-75 are multifamily and starter -home units. Southern Ruskin is considered the suburbs, where residential homes dot the shores of the Little Manatee River. The final district, southeast of the city proper, is reserved for rural and agricultural uses-for open spaces and protected spaces.

A major development in Ruskin was the opening of the Amazon Fulfillment center, which is part of the Corporate park, built next to I-75. 

The stalled development of Little Harbor is starting to  show signs of life after the large builder Lennar bought some lots and started to build luxury home in the high $700s.

Typical Homes

Home in Ruskin reflect an unique blend of architecture styles, from the charming turn-of-the-century cottage on the banks of the Little Manatee River to the Georgian-style homes reminiscent of the pre-civil-war to modern style homes built to withstand hurricane force wind.

Sale and Rent Prices

  • $211,024 Median Price, 2%  One Year Price Increase
  • $1,595 Rent list price
  • $0.86 Rent list price / sq ft

 

 

Seminole Heights Real Estate

Overview

When locals talk about Seminole Heights, they refer to the whole area encompassing Old Seminole Heights, South Seminole Heights, and Southeast Seminole Heights. ZIP Codes: 3360333604, and 33610.

The first things that come to mind when someone mentions Seminole Heights are the beautifully restored bungalows with wraparound porches and the thick oak canopies casting shade over the wide sidewalks.

This area attracts artistic types and people who are dedicated to the idea of preserving the architecture and the sense of a tight-knit community. Seminole Heights has a lot going for it: innovative food scene, craft breweries, cultural diversity, beautiful historical buildings each with its character.

Homes and Real Estate Trends

Most of the historic “California bungalows” were built around 1910 by the Seminole Development Corporation around the trolley line connecting downtown Tampa and Sulpher Springs (small resort destination).

 

Bungalows are commonly frame construction, which creates a problem if the home has been neglected and not treated for termites and carpenter ants. Newer homes in this area are built in the style of the craftsman bungalow but with block construction.

There is a lot new development in this area, mostly rehab but a couple of brand new loft-style luxury multifamily buildings were built along Florida Ave, price ranging from $1,700 – 1,900 for 1BR apartment.

Median sale home price: $230,545; 4.4% 1-year change (2019)


Median rental price: $1,490
Travel time to downtown Tampa: 10 mins
Things to watch for: locals complain about the availability of parking.

Nearby neighborhood to watch for: Tampa Heights- 10% 1-year change (2019)

 

Seffner Real Estate Market

Overview

Seffner, Florida is one of Hillsborough County’s earliest communities. Because it sits three miles north of Brandon and ten miles northeast of Tampa, this still-rural area is rapidly becoming a bedroom community, with most folks commuting to Brandon and Tampa.  Seffner’s population is  7,579 according to the 2010 census, up almost 30 percent since 2000.

Sociocultural Data Report from Hillsborough County

Real Estate Trends 

 Homes in Seffner include upscale ranches and contemporary, single-family homes on large lots in gated subdivisions. Seffner living is still considered affordable with median sale price of $199,900 in 2019. 
Sale price have gone up 4.2% since last year and the expectation is a 2% increase for 2020, according to Zillow.
 

Rentals and Investments

Seffner is very popular with investors because most communities are older with no CDD fees (community development fees),  most only have small HOA fees. 

The builders are also buying large tracts of land in the area, which helps lift the median sales price. They have to do a lot of work before building because the area is prone to flooding from the summer rains. 

If you are buying land, make sure that you visit after a heavy rain.

Typical Buildings

Most homes are build with concrete block but there are  still some frame homes. Please read our Investing in Florida Guide for more information on what you should look  when buying real estate anywhere in Florida.

Sale and Rent Prices

  • $1,450 Rent list price
  • $1.01 Rent list price / sq ft

South Tampa Real Estate

  • Overview

Where New Tampa may bring to mind a tangle of disconnected, albeit beautiful, new master-planned communities and big box shopping outlets and malls, South Tampa brings to mind a unique combination of gracious, established, character-rich neighborhoods and urban sophistication.

South Tampa is not a community proper; instead, it comprises the upper and lower Tampa peninsula and is home to McDill Air Force Base, the University of Tampa as well as many thriving commercial districts and well-established residential communities south of West Kennedy Boulevard, such as the notable Hyde Park, Bayshore Boulevard and Ballast Point.

While South Tampa is considered one of the most expensive areas in Tampa, it’s residents are quick to tell you the many reasons they love to call South Tampa home, among them the always-on bay breeze, the area’s architectural diversity, brick streets, towering oaks and city living-and with it the ability to find just about anything you need or want within 15-mile drive…without four-lane highway traffic and long commutes out of new subdivisions.

Neighborhoods and Prices in South Tampa

Residents in South Tampa enjoy a mix of mostly older homes and new construction, single family homes and condominiums with dramatic bay views, such as those along Bayshore Boulevard. South Tampa also features luxury golf course homes, as well as gated waterfront communities, townhomes, executive homes and custom estates. 

In general, the neighborhoods south of Gandy Blvd, which bisects the South Tampa peninsula north and south, are more modest, with many homes being more than 40 years old and much smaller than their newer counterparts. And although you can still find townhomes, condominiums and starter homes in the $200s, most South Tamps homes begin in the $300s and extend into millions.  

The two zip codes in this area are 33611 and 33616. The median price of home in 33611 is $290,545, an increase of 2.7% over last year. Properties in the 33616 zip code tend to have lower prices, median price of $246, 316, appreciation of 1.7% over last year. 

Rent prices:

  • 33616, average rent $1800
  • 33611, average rent $1797

 

 

Bayshore Boulevard, called the “emerald jewel of Tampa,” is home to the longest, continuous pedestrian sidewalk in the world, lined with a historic white balustrade atop the seawall of Hillsborough Bay. It’s also home to Tampa’s most stately and elegant homes, many of which reflect the proud history of the Tampa area. 

The Boulevard runs south to north, from the Tampa Yacht and Country Club to the outskirts of downtown Tampa, with many townhouses and high-rise condos lining it’s shores. Homes in the Bayshore area range from $250s for a condo to $5 million and up.

Hyde Park is one of South Tampa’s oldest neighborhoods; as such it offers many heavily shaded, older bungalow-style homes with inviting front porches, reflecting the architectural style of the 1920s ans 30s. Many of these homes have been lovingly restored and retain the area’s old-word style charm, thus making Hyde Park a destination experience in itself.

Location-wise, Hyde Park lies just across the Hillsborough River and extends west of Tampa’s downtown business and cultural center. It’s social center is Old Hyde Park Village, an upscale shopping and entertainment venue with large and small boutiques, excellent restaurants with outdoor seating and a movie theater. Homes in Hyde Park range from $160s to a small one bedroom  condo to $4 million.

Another notable and popular South Tampa community is New Suburb Beautiful; although it is still beautiful, it is no longer new-the community was originally developed during the 1920s and 30s. Many of the homes along New Suburb’s oak-lined, cobblestone streets have been restored to their original splendor; prices today range from $200s for a condo to $1 million.

South Tampa is also home to the up-and-coming, 50-acre mixed-use waterfront neighborhood called Water Street Tampa. 

Rentals and Real Estate Investments

Valrico is great area to invest because the amenities available to residents and the quality of the schools. It’s five elementary schools-Alafia, Buckhorn, Cimino, Lithia Springs and Valrico-are all “A” schools, as is its sole middle school Mulrennan Middle. Bloomingdale High, the community’s high school, is not far behind with “B”.

Schools are not the only reason to invest in this area.  With 65 golf courses within 30 miles of the city, chances are good you’ll find one to your liking. The semi-private championship course at River Hills, nestled within more than 200 acres of countryside, offers plenty of challenge for the serious golfer and plenty of fun for the weekenders. The Bloomingdale Golfer’s Club, also semi-private, is ranked one of Florida to 10 courses.

But golf is not the only thing to do – not by far! Nearby is the popular Alafia River State Park. As most of the land is reclaimed mines, the park offers some of the most radical elevation changes in Florida. With 20 miles of trails, opportunities for canoeing and fishing, as well as full-service campground and equestrian-friendly campsites, the Alafia River State Park makes for relaxing fun time and time again.

Typical Buildings

This area is really mixed with most of the newer homes build with concrete blocks but there are also some older wood frame structures

Sale and Rent Prices

  • $1,675 Rent list price
  • $0.97 Rent list price / sq ft

Other notable South Tampa communities, each with their own unique personality and flavor, include Ballast Point, Beach Park, Davis Island, Interbay, New Suburb, Parkland Estate, SoHo(South Howard) and Sunset Park.

The median home value in 33611 is $290,545. 33611 home values have gone up 2.7% over the past year

Valrico Real Estate Market

Overview

If you ask Tampa-area locals to tell you about Valrico in just a few words, the answer is usually the same: lots of big, beautiful trees, great golf courses and excellent schools. Valrico, Florida is an evolving community 13 miles east of Tampa. Just under 35,600 people call Valrico home according to the last census. 

Real Estate Trends

A variety of neighborhoods dot this peaceful, family-friendly, and mostly upper-middle-class community, including large acreage next to densely packed subdivisions. Available for sale are single family homes, some condominiums and town-homes, and large lots for building a custom castle of your very own. 

Bloomingdale (zip code 33596) is the largest neighborhood in Valrico, it has over 32 smaller single family communities. Some of the homes are in deed restricted communities and some have voluntary HOAs.  Half of Bloomingdale is actually addressed to Brandon. 

The median home value in Bloomingdale (Valrico) is $291,939. home values have gone up 1.7% in 2019 over the past year.

 

Lakefront homes are another options; residents living along the shores of the 124-acre Valrico Lake enjoy fishing, water-skiing and air-boating, as well as an abundance of wildlife from raccoons and foxes to geese, ducks and alligators.

The median price for this area of Valrico (zip code 33594) $231,095, home prices have gone up 3.4% in 2019. 

New, larger estate homes with pools and lavish landscaping are also available for those with larger budgets and tastes,  in communities like Country Gates and River Hills. River Hills, a member of the Audubon Society, has within it’s borders several areas designated as wildlife preserves.

Rentals and Real Estate Investments

Valrico is great area to invest because the amenities available to residents and the quality of the schools. It’s five elementary schools-Alafia, Buckhorn, Cimino, Lithia Springs and Valrico-are all “A” schools, as is its sole middle school Mulrennan Middle. Bloomingdale High, the community’s high school, is not far behind with “B”.

Schools are not the only reason to invest in this area.  With 65 golf courses within 30 miles of the city, chances are good you’ll find one to your liking. The semi-private championship course at River Hills, nestled within more than 200 acres of countryside, offers plenty of challenge for the serious golfer and plenty of fun for the weekenders. The Bloomingdale Golfer’s Club, also semi-private, is ranked one of Florida to 10 courses.

But golf is not the only thing to do – not by far! Nearby is the popular Alafia River State Park. As most of the land is reclaimed mines, the park offers some of the most radical elevation changes in Florida. With 20 miles of trails, opportunities for canoeing and fishing, as well as full-service campground and equestrian-friendly campsites, the Alafia River State Park makes for relaxing fun time and time again.

Typical Buildings

This area is really mixed with most of the newer homes build with concrete blocks but there are also some older wood frame structures

Sale and Rent Prices

  • $1,675 Rent list price
  • $0.97 Rent list price / sq ft

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