Florida and, certainly Tampa Bay, continue in a familiar holding pattern, despite changes all around us.
GTR Economist Elliot Eisenberg reports the region’s low inventory, a product of the continued hot market, will largely insulate us from the impact of higher prices and higher mortgage rates occurring elsewhere. Tampa remains among the nation’s fastest appreciating markets, often at No. 1 or 2. But the low inventories will continue to challenge buyers.
Dr. Eisenberg also confirms the expectations of other economists that interest rates are not likely to increase much more than they are now because the market responded as the Federal Reserve signaled its planned rate increases.
Elsewhere, we are watching some interesting changes in the industry. Realogy has changed its name to Anywhere Real Estate in a bid, executives say, to resonate with more consumers. The reasoning: Realogy is more of a Wall Street brand than consumer brand like Coldwell Banker. Reaction to the change was mixed among marketers and owners of the sub brands, but no one doubts Anywhere Real Estate will do anything but continue to be a major player.
Meanwhile, industry firebrand REX Homes has shut down after a 7-year run that garnered positive attention and ire over its business model of smaller seller commissions and salaried agents. Attention refocused when REX made anti-trust claims against the National Association of REALTORS® and Zillow, claiming they conspired to marginalize the brokerage. The lawsuit continues.
Opendoor, which continues to expand its Florida presence, has accelerated both purchasing homes and advertising, doubling its ad spend in the first quarter over last year. Analyst Mike DelPrete says the move is a retrenchment on Opendoor’s commitment to the iBuyer model.
Finally, we were intrigued by the story of a Parkland, Florida-based broker who became Atlanta’s top broker without stepping foot in Georgia. He bought or leased more than 300 homes at a total value of more than $86 million, according to the Atlanta REALTORS® Association. His secret to success is a proprietary software system that analyzes large data sets and identifies the best homes for investors.
“I come to an industry that is very archaic and stodgy, and I’m being very analytical and quantitative,” A.J. Steigman said. He also is licensed in Florida and Pennsylvania.
In other headlines, Redfin confirms what we already know from experience: Homes are still being snatched up at a record pace, just by a smaller pool of buyers. The buyers’ market is expected to remain elusive for many more months.
Close to home, Pasco County has a difficult balancing act, finding industry that can provide local residents with promising employment opportunities and creating much needed housing. About 70% of the community’s employed residents work outside of the county. Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council is conducting an economic analysis of the impact to the community, when industrial land is used for residential.
We have a lot to keep an eye on as the Fed’s efforts to slow inflation have unavoidable adverse effects on businesses and families. We will continue to pull lessons from disruptors and innovators both successful and not.
As we close, I invite you to join us for the Viva Las Vegas Casino Night and Auction on Thursday, May 26. This fundraiser for RPAC also is a good time to connect with colleagues.