St. Petersburg Florida, 75K rental properties?

18 Replies

I'm considering moving to St. Petersburg Florida for retirement. I am currently a landlord and would like to sell my properties where I am at (Seattle) and buy other rentals in St. P. when I move there. I'm seeing brand new construction 3 bed, 2 bath homes on Zillow with one car garage, AC, etc. for 115K. Surely these are in decent or good areas?

But what about the houses that are in the 75-85K range in St. Petersburg? They seem to be in good condition, but are they in bad parts of town? Looking at the median income and housing values in the city there, it isn't like these houses cost 75K because they are in the ghetto while the good neighborhoods are 500K and least it doesn't seem like it on paper. Maybe someone in the area there can clarify.

@Jack B. While it has been many years since I lived in St. Pete, I still have family in that area.  In the greater Tampa area, there are lots of different areas. Some really good, some really bad.  I will tell you that anything that is not an hour away from the city centers (St. Pete, Tampa, etc) is not super cheap.   St. Pete has some older areas that are really bad.

I personally would not live in any area of greater Tampa Bay where the houses are $100k or less.  They may work as a rental, but not as primary residence.   Also, these sub $100k houses will not cash flow very well.  I have a brother in that area, and after the housing crisis, there were tons of cheap houses.  While he does not have the means to invest, I looked at it hard, as he could manage the houses for me.  But after looking at the rents, cash flow and tenant pool(very important), I decided not to risk my money (I ignored housing appreciation, as it was impossible to tell how long it would take for the market to turn around). 

Talk to some agents down there, and I bet you will hear the same kind of things.

@Mike Wood

Thanks for the info. Clearwater/Tampa area is supposed to be know as one of the best rental markets in the country if you are a landlord. What gives? The rents sure seem fine to me. I would be able to cash flow about 1K a month after all expenses from what I've seen online about the rents for these houses/this area. I would be buying these properties in cash, not financing them.

@Nick C.

So the properties I listed, or properties around 75K are not bad to have as rentals? I have a couple of rentals in the Seattle area ghettos and it's not so bad. I even lived in them myself before renting them out.

Just depends on the level of ghetto though. As long as I can get decent tenants, I would be willing to buy in the Tampa area for rentals. If I need to spend 100K to avoid having my primary residence in the ghetto, that's fine too.

Seeing as to how it seems to vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, block by block, how can I nail down an area before coming to visit it? Or do I just contact a local realtor in the area there and have him pick for me? Is it even necessary to go there in person? I'm hesitant to buy without seeing anything in person, as I've seen some creative listings in Seattle where the listing agent carefully avoids the mold, water damage, and holes in the wall and carpet, etc.

I'd be very careful of anything in south St Pete. There area very good areas down there like Gulfport or Lakewood Estates, but the properties you listed are in bad areas, I wouldn't spend more than $30k on either one. Most of south St Pete is pretty rough. I've had a much different experience than Mike Wood, and I couldn't disagree more about being an hour away from the city centers. That would put you in another city entirely or the Gulf of Mexico. We're experiencing terrific cash flow in both Tampa and St Pete. Screening tenants or finding good property management is just as or more important than finding a good house to buy. 

As far as the areas, the best way would be to spend a lot of time in your car driving around and connect with some local investors that can steer you away from the lemons. 

Hi @Jack B. - I agree with many of the comments above...most investors generally avoid South St Pete due to the demographics, crime rate, etc., with the exception of some of the nicer neighborhoods closer to the coast (Gulfport, Pinellas Point, Coquina Key, Old Southeast).

That being said, there are cash-flowing (as long as you are realistic about cap rates) rentals available in the $75-$125k range throughout decent neighborhoods in St Pete and Pinellas Park. 

I specialize in working with out of state investors as a realtor and property manager, and I'm happy to help in any way I can.

Good luck with your investing goals!

St Pete is a city in transition and what was known last year is not the same as this one.  Property in good neighborhoods are being torn down and larger homes are being built on those lots.  Inventory is low and prices have gone up.     That said there are still good homes for sale though most are block homes need some updating for rental purposes to reduce future maintenance bills. 

I lived in South St Pete last year and constantly look in that area for homes because it is priced lower.   There are many, many areas that have good solid people living there.   Another area to look for prices under 100K is Pasco county just north of Tampa.    

There are good property management companies here and I wish the best of luck in your move.  

Welcome to Florida!

@Nick C. I am glad your doing good.  The larger Tampa area is very, very large, so I am sure you can make good money.

I was focused in Pinellas county, in the $50-75k range for 2/1 and 3/1 SFH. My big concern was for the price they were C neighborhoods at best, which spooked me.

Re-reading my comment, the 1hr away from the city was related to new construction @ $115k.  I was thinking areas north of Tampa, where there is a lot of new construction on old farm land.  I just don't see anyone being able to built new in established areas down there.  Sorry that was not clear.

I totally agree with Nick on this. I bid on these properties continously everyday in Pinellas County. 

Dylan Jaeck

RMS Elite Properties, A Division of Rental Marketing Solutions, LLC

Real Estate Sales, Leasing and Property Management
4700 9th Ave N. | St. Petersburg, FL 33713

St. Pete is great for rentals... I like the South portion (even outside of above - mentioned safer areas) because a lot of investors are afraid of it.... where else can you buy a 40k property and rent it out for $950?  Property taxes are very low too...  Successful rentals correlate with tenant screening.  Simple as that.  

Originally posted by @Stephanie Sechen:

St. Pete is great for rentals... I like the South portion (even outside of above - mentioned safer areas) because a lot of investors are afraid of it.... where else can you buy a 40k property and rent it out for $950?  Property taxes are very low too...  Successful rentals correlate with tenant screening.  Simple as that.  

Agreed on tenant screening. Do you see rising or declining property values in such bad areas? I imagine at such a low price, the prices are flat or declining.

Eh, I do not see a huge rise in values.  This is definitely more of a rental market for investing long-term.  In these markets, I like to sell to other investors and keep tenant in place.  St. Pete is def on fire especially downtown.  More construction buzzing in St Petersburg than Tampa...

I agree with most of these comments. I specialize in buying, rehabbing in St Pete. Mostly in S St Pete, but I own in N Tampa as well. The cash flow is great, as stated above. My advice is being hands on, I would not recommend this type of investing to someone out of town and most of the Property Management companies have issues in the south St Pete areas. But a combination of Section 8 housing and market rentals is a solid investment. I would not focus on appreciation in these areas, as most houses are re-purchased by another investor looking for a deal. As someone stated above these areas are improving but it is street by street knowledge. Literally. I have bought dozens of homes in the $30s pumped $20k into them and rent them out for an average of $950 a month. I do self manage my properties and a few others for some local investors. Also, manage my own staff of craftsmen. Again, this is not for everyone. I have found 35% will only stay one year and the homes need a full turnover. So I calculate my return based on 11 months. If you are skittish about these areas, spend a bit more and focus on north of 5th Ave N in Pinellas. I am doing a rehab there now, purchased a 3/1 for $78k putting in about $30k. Will rent for $1250. But there is appreciation opportunity. Overall, most deals are disappearing. Lots of investors buying. I was lucky enough start 3 years ago. I am currently holding my properties, collecting rent, and only picking up select deals for all cash. It is all about the ROI on the monthly rentals. If any wholesalers are reading this, I am still buying well priced units, any condition.