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Want to own a home? Be prepared to save for 10 years

Surging real estate prices stretch saving timelines into new territory.

  • By Brian Hartz
  • | 9:00 a.m. March 18, 2022
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Photo courtesy of Kostiantyn Li/
Photo courtesy of Kostiantyn Li/
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According to, the median sale price of a home in the Tampa metro area has surged to nearly $360,000. That’s nearly a $100,000 jump in just two years, putting homeownership out of reach for more and more residents.

What might be even more shocking, however, is the amount of time it now takes to save up for a down payment for a home purchase. Tomo, a residential real estate fintech startup based in Austin, Texas, that recently expanded to Florida, has found that it will take 9.9 years for a typical homebuyer to squirrel away 20% of the cost of the dwelling they intend to buy.

Compare that to January 2020, when the time it took to save for a down payment was 7.7 years. Since that time, home prices have risen by 27.9%, making Tampa Bay one of the top 10 fastest-appreciating residential real estate markets in the country.

According to a news release from Tomo, “At the current pace of appreciation, Tampa metro will exceed the previous years-to-save record (10.2 years) reached during the housing bubble over 15 years ago by March 2022.”

There is some good news, however: Tomo Principal Economist Skylar Olsen found that housing construction permit filing, statewide, has ramped up by 25.9% since January 2020, an indicator that developers and builders are at least attempting to create more supply to meet skyrocketing demand, which, thanks to Florida’s surging population, doesn’t seem likely to abate anytime soon.

Florida, Tomo states in the release, attracted 11.4% of all long-distance movers over the second half of the last decade, more than any other state. That aligns with a recent Atlas Van Lines study that ranks Florida among the states with the highest ratio of inbound vs. outbound relocations.

“Violent competition for available housing during the pandemic has led to impossible down payments," Olsen says in an email to Coffee Talk, "and now that rates have begun to rise, monthly affordability will erode quickly. Existing homeowners can move their record equity gains to the next house, but a first-time buyer in Tampa going for a down payment on the typical home and making the median household income will have to save an extra 2.2 years since the start of the pandemic for a total of 9.9 years. That’s how fast home prices have outpaced income. Looking for hyperinflation? That’s it."




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