I am looking at getting a house in the surrounding suburbs of Tampa Bay,
What are the downsides of this place?
1. would be a massive hurricane is coming in 2008 Aug. So big that the
Republican Convention to be held there in 2008 was changed to some other
But houses there are built to withstand 350 mile winds.. Cat 6.
Any comments or other downsides? How far off the coast or Tampa Bay is
safe from Wind? From ensuing Floods? Etc...
Any help appreciated.
Real estate is expensive but that is a little better right now
That is wild speculation. Nobody knows when hurricanes will come.
More like 130 MPH but that is usually going to be enough, particularly
if you are not on the beach. Tampa is not on the beach. Flooding is a
bigger issue. Look at the flood maps before you buy.
If you buy a fairly new house it will be at the current wind code and
above the FEMA flood plain.
On the north side of Tampa you are far from the water and some of this
is fairly high ground. Just look around. "Tampa Bay" is a fairly
generic term for everything from the beaches of St Petersburg to the
horse farms in Pasco County. Figure out where you are going to work
and where you like to live, then be sure there is a good road between
them. Watch out for bridges. One wreck can slow you down, two can add
hours to your commute
350 mph wind? Not a chance. South Tampa floods when it rains hard, is
in a basin so if a hurricane hits directly Tampa will be gone because
all the water will be pushed into Tampa Bay. Check out a map showing
elevations and add on a 20' storm surge plus 50' waves. Most of St.
Pete is also very low and flat. O/W, nice place to live. My tolerance
for wind is 70 mph; any more and things come apart.
Downsides? Hmmm...no homeowner's insurance. Huge tax increases on
existing homes when the homestead cap comes off. I4/275 is a nighmare
Oh, I forgot .... we have earthquakes, too. And if the hurricanes don't
getcha, global warming is melting the ice. And we have pythons that eat
gators, the African bees are coming, .............
Check out a relief map.
I lived in Sarasota on the coast for 20 years and never saw
a hurricane there. Then I moved 50 miles inland and 4 years
later was ripped to shreds by hurricane Charlie which passed
directly over my home and property at 145 mph.
Besides, unless your very wealthy, you won't be living
too close to the coast in SW Florida any more. Prices
have gone up 3X in five years.
New homes are built to an incredibly high standard and
inspections through the process are brutal. Contract
for a new home or buy one just a few years old and you'll
have no problem with a Cat4 hurricane or less. Andrew
was a Cat5 and tore up even the strongest homes, but
these weren't built to Florida's current high standards
so maybe even new homes could take a Cat5.
I live where Charlie was supposed to go, but didn't. My neighbor (on
the water) evacuated WAY inland and got creamed.
There should be some good fire sales in a year or two. Very weird to go
for a drive after dark and see a highrise with one or two lights on in
the whole building. Buyers don't live in 'em. Wonder what percent of
them are owned by flippers who can't unload and put their last dime into
Florida is just a sandbar carved by hurricanes. Sand piled up on the
old seabottom. Was it Sanibel that got cut in two? My favorite place in
the whole world.
About a year and a half ago at the peak of mad investor
rush to drive up prices, I learned of an incredible statistic:
26% of properties in Sarasota are owned by investors
(not homeowners living on the property).
The stockmarket crash of the early 2000's caused the
huge number of wealthy people in SW Florida to take
their money and invest in tangible property here. That
combined with very low interest rates just caused the
great run-up in prices. After all, properties were
fantastic investments and the wealthy took advantage
I feel bad for younger or poorer people though, who
now have little hope of home ownership anymore.
The $300K home (now) was 85K 6 or 7 years ago.
I have a hunch the prices will go down when people can't get goods and
services - mom-and-pop restaurant, nearby auto service, teachers, cops,
etc. Folks are screaming for tax breaks, but the counties and
municipalities will have to raise wages so's their employees can find a
place to live.
Of course, with the economic advances of China, India, and others,
perhaps the "new American homeowner" will no longer be American. Mebbe
the grandkids will live on a plantation and trim hedges?
Over near our beach, the streets look like the projects - lots cleared
by developers who decided not to build .. weedy lots, junk fences,
dumpsters. Can't get on the street on weekends. Lousy place to live :o)
That is sure not true in SW Florida. The only housing market that
really got hurt was the $400,000-$700,000 "want" houses. That is where
the speculators were fishing. Beach front is more like $800,000 to
some million and rich folks are still rich. They are tearing down 2000
sq/ft houses that were built 5 years ago to build 4000-8000 sq/ft
houses. The market for $200,000 "affordable" houses is still strong.
If you like strawberries, you'd be real close to some of the strawberry
fields. IMHO, it's not a bad place to live. You'd be well out of the
surge/flood zone, but no place in Florida is safe from hurricane winds.
Hurricane Charley proved that. Good luck fighting rush hour traffic
going through Brandon, though, unless you take the Crosstown Expressway
(toll road). But then, rush hour traffic backs up just about everywhere
in the Tampa Bay area these days. That same toll road will get you to
Pinellas County (and the beaches) pretty quick. There's a huge Mall
and other shopping centers on the other side of Brandon, so shopping is
close by. Menard Park is a hop, skip, and a jump from Valrico too.
It's a great place for family outtings, swimming, freshwater fishing,
and camping, if you like that kind of stuff.
Definitely strawberries, and in February! Also really good biking and
ped. trails around Tampa area. But other downsides to FL living are
mold and rust. Careful professional inspection of any house or condo
is imperative, but older properties might be difficult and expensive to
deal with, in terms of mold removal.
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