Job woes stifle Tampa's real estate recovery

Overbuilt market endures slowing employment growth, pervasive negative equity problem

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Aug. 24, 2012

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If employment and job creation are the keys, then there are still concerns about Tampa.

Lesley Deutch, a vice president with John Burns Real Estate Consulting, recently issued a report titled, "Florida's Housing Market Is Booming, But Will It Last," in which she writes: "Every month, we analyze a litany of statistics for our research clients, and we have been pointing out a disturbing trend. Florida's employment growth is slowing.

"Florida currently has the slowest year-over-year payroll employment growth of any region in the nation. Of the 20 metropolitan areas in Florida we analyze, 12 of them are now experiencing year-over-year job losses. While the larger metropolitan areas (Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville) are still experiencing year-over-year job gains, the pace is slowing."

According to John Burns' research, in November 2010, Tampa employment growth was about 10,000 annually. That rose to about 40,000 at the end of last year. By the start of the second quarter this year, the numbers dropped back down to the 25,000 range.

Nevertheless, McFolling remains optimistic. Taking a look at Tampa's real estate market, she is very encouraged by the inventory picture. Back in 2007, inventory rose to almost 25 months.

In May 2012, that number had dropped all the way down to 3.7 months. Of that, about 28 percent or 29 percent are REOs and short sales, McFolling said. Back in that difficult year of 2007, almost 22,000 homes were in inventory. That number has declined to 7,770 homes.

Although, new home building has picked up in Tampa, Geberer expects the city's continued but moderate job formation pace will help clear residential inventory. Still, he said, "Prices will remain flat until inventory will be worked through."

Or as Deutch cautioned, "Monitor the Florida economy carefully if you are investing there!"

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on

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