Total new-home closings: 5,526
The good: Jobs, jobs, jobs—to the tune of a 99% peak recovery in employment levels as of May 2015.
The bad: If you're just getting started then you're already behind, with starts jumping 24.5% year over year in the first quarter of 2015.
The bottom line: With total single-family inventory at a 7.9-month supply in the first quarter of 2015, there's plenty of room to join in.
With new-home starts down 4.5% year over year and the annual starts rate down by 10.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014, Metrostudy reports suggested that 2015's performance would depend on job creation. With 18,000 additional jobs added, a 1.1% drop in unemployment over 12 months, lower fuel prices, and growth among wages, by March 2015 builders' wishes were more than granted. And in the first quarter of 2015 they responded with a 24.5% increase in starts over first quarter 2014 levels. In the first quarter of 2015, total single-family inventory rose by 13.2% year over year, reaching a 7.9-month supply. The hot spots include the counties of Hillsborough and Pasco, which together accounted for 87.5% of all annual starts activity. If your game is Follow the Leader, it's go time in Tampa.