Tampa Bay is one of the nation’s top 10 areas for real estate investors

Investing in real estate can be risky, but the Tampa Bay area is one of the best places to try it, a new study says.

Over the past year, investors have earned an average gross return of 16.7 percent on local residential properties they bought, according to the online real estate investment site BiggerPockets.com. That ranks the bay area sixth among the nation’s top 50 metro areas.

“If you can afford to buy a home in your local market, then by definition you can afford to buy (residential) investment properties,” said Scott Trench, author of the study.

Don’t rush out just yet, though, to grab that foreclosed house down the street. The high returns cited by BiggerPockets don’t factor in the many costs of investing, including closing costs, property taxes, insurance and — in the case of many properties — substantial sums for repairs and renovation.

As the housing market recovers, it’s also getting harder to find good deals in sought-after areas.

“Carrollwood and South Tampa are almost impossible,” Chris Smith, owner of Bay to Gulf Holdings, said Friday. “Those are probably the two hottest places — everybody wants to live there.”

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About Author

John William is a cum laude graduate of the University of Miami, and has spent his lifetime in sales and marketing. The fourth generation to join his family business, John William manages all luxury residential sales and transactions within the Tampa Bay and South Florida markets. A keen industry insider with a finger on the pulse of the area, He is an expert identifying high-return acquisition and development opportunities for hungry investors both large and small while simultaneously working with homeowners and homebuyers to buy and sell the home of their dreams… often times without the need of the MLS or a For Sale sign. He also oversees all digital and print marketing for the company, and handles all sales training for new and established agents alike. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Brookwood Florida, the oldest charity in Florida, and works to raise millions of dollars annually for local charities and museums.