February 19, 2006

HP reporting from Tampa Florida this weekend. One word: Hellhole


Just here for a few days for a conference. Trust me, this city would be far far down on my list of places to visit. Strip malls. Horrible zoning. Obese Americans. Chain restaurants. And yes, REALLY expensive condos ("from the low 600's!")

Read the paper today and lots of ads for condos with the same stock-art photography I used to see in Phoenix. Does anyone really believe that hot 20 year olds are buying these $900,000 condos - where they drink martinis or wine with their other hot 20 year old friends out on the porch? Then get dressed up in their black dresses and tuxes for a night out on the town?

My shuttle driver spent the 30 minutes to the hotel talking about the killing he was going to make in real estate here. He just got his bankruptcy done a year ago and he found a bank to get him a no-doc no-down loan on a $200,000 house here (at 8%). He said he's up at least $50k already, and wants to sell that one to put the money into some land.

Yup, the shuttle driver. Figure that pays about $8 an hour.

I didn't want to break the little guy's heart. He's screwed. And this was (another) shoe-shine-guy kinda moment. When the shuttle guy is flipping homes, RUN!

Then don't get me started on the hurricanes, and the humidity, and the bugs, and the lack of "there" there. Heck, even the beach was nasty.

Anyone else from the Tampa area want to comment on this market? Sure felt a bit like Phoenix.

13 comments:

john in va said...

Get this:

Donald Trump announced Monday that he has struck a partnership deal with a local development group to build a 52-story, 190-unit luxury condominium building in downtown Tampa.
It is reported that the $220 million development will feature condominiums that range in price from $700,000 to more than $6 million with most units being in the $1 million to $2 million range.


Here's a future cocktail party conversation:
Her: I'm thinking about buying a condo.
Him: I think it's a great idea. I bought a luxury condo last year.
Her: Really? How much -- if you don't mind my asking.
Him: Six million.
Her: Six million!? Where is it? Manhattan? San Francisco? Paris?
Him: Tampa.
Her: Stop teasing! Seriously -- where is it?
Him: Seriously. Tampa.
Her: Tampa, Florida?
Him: Yep.
Her: Oh.

Another Tampan said...

There are nice parts of the Tampa Bay area -- not all strip malls, fat people, and bad zoning. Take St. Petersburg.

Is there a bubble in the Bay area? Yeah, but nothing compared to South Florida. I think Tampa-St. Petersburg will fare the bubble well, actually. Pinellas County, for instance, has been built out for two decades and its price jumps over the past few years have been conservative compared to South Florida, San Diego, and Arizona.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Florida is that the native surroundings is a SWAMP! Anything built has been built out of that SWAMP.... talk about sprall just look at that perimeter road that goes along the Florida's coast. Is a warm winter really that important? I guess you just forget the horrible summer months if you live there year around.

The hot humid air once cooled by air conditioning is like laying a cold wet blanket and gives you a stiff neck!

And then there are the BUGS..... BUGS BUGS AND MORE BUGS! Several years ago I attended a lavish party at a Florida mansion ..... the railings of the home were crawling with bugs trying for their chance at the buffet! YUK!

Then there is the MOLD everywhere.

Then there is the SONG OF THE BUGS at night.

Not to mention that Florida is Heaven's waiting room!

Welcome to WALKER WORLD!

Bubble or not, the place is a loser.

Anonymous said...

I HAD to spend a year working in Tampa area...and I Thought the Humidity, Bugs...Snakes and the Really Mean Guys in the Jungles of Vietnam ...were BAD! Tampa HAS IT ALL.....and that was JUST in their AIRPORT !

Anonymous said...

When I was in Tampa in 1992 (Clearwater and Sarasota), I found it to be beautiful! Was I not in the bad parts? I would much rather take that than being in a desert shithole like Phoenix!

moman said...

There are really nice parts of the Tampa Bay area.

Contrary to popular belief, Pinellas county is not built out. The county has plenty of open land for redevelopment. The major problem here is the lack of zoning. There are nice restaurants beside a trailer park beside a school beside a McMansion subdivision beside a Publix....

The heat is oppressive but only past August....April/May/June/July actually feel pretty good. The afternoon showers cool it down a little but bring up the humidity to ass kicking levels. The bugs have never bothered me.

Contrary to comments on here, Tampa Bay is going to experience the greatest real estate bust in its history. The area is experiencing riduclous sprawl brought on by newcomers who want to live in the same tract home lands down here they lived in up north. Shitty old apartment complexes are being turned into luxury condos and resold to naive investors who believe Florida real estate is a can't lose proposition. The average wage here is somewhere around $13/hr which is not nearly enough to afford the $235k average house price.

To add insult to injury the tract homes in this area are shitty, built on top of each other, do not have a basement, and suck the money out of owners wallets with high ceilings and vast open spaces that require a small fortune to keep cool during the summer. Add the lack of any substantial shade trees and kids can't even go outside and play during the summer day without suffering heat stroke.

Anonymous said...

If you stop feeding you kids burgers, fries, and pizza then will not get heat stock going outside in the summer.

Even 10 pounds overwieght and you feel the heat much more, in Florida the average perhaps is more like 60lbs overwieght.

I love the florida beaches and boating but seeing all the fat slobs everywhere is absolutly disgusting, gross, tragic, pathetic, ...

The FAT difference between San Diego and Florida is like night and day. Washington should impose a FAT tax so I do not have to pay for medicare of all the FAT EAST COAST SLOBS too lazy to exercise.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in both the Tampa Bay area (8 yrs) and Phoenix (10 yrs).

Growing up north of Clearwater back in the mid-80's, Tampa was always a bit run-down compared to the coast... and frankly a bit of a joke. Northern Pinellas county was long where the money was at - at least until it all got overbuilt. I remember the big real estate boom of the late 80's that swept north through Pinellas County and Pasco, overrunning sleepy middle-class vacation and retirement communities like Dunedin - and in many ways sending those areas downhill, much like the fate of St. Petersburg and Largo. The boarded-up strip malls along US 19 tell the tale. Now, the froth is concentrated inland directly north of Tampa Bay, essentially in sandy pine barrens and swampland.

Downtown Tampa and the fancy real estate along the inside bay are at great flood risk in the event of a hurricane. Much of Pinellas County sits much higher although closer to the coast.

Phoenix is another formerly sleepy retirement town that got overrun by the latest bubble. Yes, it is hot and dry, but that doesn't exactly mean poolside fun - I've never liked shivering getting out of the pool when it is 105F. If you are from back east, you have no idea what that is like until you've felt flash evaporation.

Phoenix also has nasty bugs - which used to be a huge drawback to building overpriced mansions in the middle of desert scrub. I have no idea why people pay so much money just to live in far N. Scottsdale just so they can have scorpions drop on their faces at night. That negative-edge pool is great, just hope you don't find a rattlesnake curled up in the skimmer. Vinegaroons and tarantulas usually aren't on the real estate brochures either.

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