I bought a condo in FL this spring and paid $25,000 less than the previous buyer did 2 years ago. I keep an eye on the market there because of my ownership and I also would like to purchase another unit in the development. From what I have seen, FL is still reeling from a surplus of inventory. All one has to do is drive down along the waterfront to see all the for sale signs to understand this. I found exactly what I wanted at a price I thought was fair and didn't want to lose it. It is unique in that it is a free-standing cottage, typical of old time Key West architecture, and there are very few of these type units available . That's why I bought mine. If you want something in a mid-rise building, something more cookie-cutter in nature, something that's a dime a dozen, I would wait. I think FL has a very long recovery ahead and has not come close to the bottom of their market.
Check in with a local agent, though. They can give you a better idea of what's going on exactly where you want to buy because what they say about real estate being local is true. Good luck.
My thought it if you are happy with the price, the condo, and the area, do your homework, negotiate a great deal with your buyer agent, and buy it!
Forbes rated Tampa the #1 place to buy in July 2007. We have V shaped ecomomy, which means when we DO hit the bottom, look out! Because its soon to go RIGHT BACK UP!
~the real estate, like any market, is cyclical--in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, it tends to a five-year peak and trough, and most analysts agree that we are at, or near the bottom.
~eight years is indeed a long time frame, but I think that a concise answer would depend on what you plan to do with the property between now and retirement--the rental market is hot, and Westchase is very much in-demand, so there would be no problem keeping it rented if you did choose to buy now.
~investing in any sort of real estate, if you have the funds to do so, is one of the more stable long-term investments you can find--it's problem is liquidity (ask anyone trying to sell right now!)
~from 2002 - 2004 condos in Westchase were selling from $156K - $180K; in 2005 - 2006 the sales were from $224 - $342K. Even if the market were to recede another 10%, I'd still take those odds--in eight years, those condos may just be the best inflation hedge around!