Is Tampa Bay’s housing market cooling off? Real estate experts say it is

The housing market is starting to level off despite high demand and record prices in Tampa Bay, according to real estate experts.

Tampa realtor John Hudson said bidding wars are not nearly as wild as they were a few months ago, but it’s still a competitive market in Tampa Bay.

"Sellers are still being able to take advantage of the appreciation that we’ve had over the last two years, and buyers are able to, now that the market has shifted a little bit, go into a property without having the concern that there’s going to be 20 or 30 offers," said Hudson.

That shift could be a sign of what’s to come. A new research report from Goldman Sachs called "The Housing Downturn: Further to Fall" forecasts a housing downturn with home sales and prices dropping well into next year.

"I think I agree with them. That definitely looks like it's impacting the home prices. But how much will be the impact? We do not know," said Lei Wedge, a finance professor at USF Muma College of Business.

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Financial experts said we’re still seeing higher interest rates, inflation and steeper construction costs.

"I had some builders tell me just that their construction cost of building a home is about $125, $130 a square foot and a plus the cost of land," said Wedge.

Those all add challenges, but the National Association of Realtors said the process is back to a more normal give and take.

"I would say for first-time homebuyers out there today, there's less demand than we have seen at that frenzied pace in the market over the last couple of years," said Jessica Lautz, the vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the National Association of Realtors. "I would say for sellers today, you're probably still looking at a historically good market. You're still in the driver's seat in many instances."

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So, that sky-high demand is leveling off.

"But we’re still in a great sellers’ market. And for buyers, I think they can come back to the market if they’ve been sitting out," said Hudson.

Realtors said the average number of bids on a house is now down to two or three offers, and that average was doubled more just a few months ago. Real estate experts said affordable housing and the number of houses available are still issues for the industry.