Thursday, August 29, 2013


In some ways, it looks like the time machine has sent us back to 2006. Home prices are rising by the double digits in some areas; home builders are scrounging for workers to replenish depleted inventory; and there are even some old-fashioned bidding wars again.

Home prices statewide have been rising 15 straight months. Last month, the median Florida home price rose to $160,000, up 15 percent from a year ago. The number of homes sold was up 9 percent, with nearly half of the closings paid in cash.

Among the big drivers of the buying spree are institutional investors eager to buy and rent out homes before prices escalate further.

Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, draws an anecdote close to home to illustrate how much the housing market is heating up.

One of his neighbors was solicited by a Realtor going door-to-door. They agreed to a listing.
"By the end of the week, it was sold," Brown said, "and it was never really on the market."

By Jeff Harrington
Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer

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