The Tampa Bay market, like the rest of the US and elsewhere,crashed. However, those of us on the Gulf of Mexico coast had a second crash....April 2010 the Horizon Explosion and the resulting oil spill panic. Real estate came to a standstill while everyone was trying to figure out how much we were damaged.....80% cancellation rate in our booming summer tourism market right after the spill.
Everyone panicked and property assessments by the county crashed.
Market prices of homes are advancing now but that is fairly recent....nice areas have seen the market prices improve up to 50% since the "second bottom". Many nicer homes are selling at double the county assessment. Appraisers are handcuffed by their own rules....basically comps based on actual sales in the past, like up to one year. Market prices have outstripped this lag in appraised prices. All financial institutions lend on Appraised Value not market value nor contract price. Appraisals are almost always below the contract or market prices (no so in marginal areas). When arranging for financing you will fail if you expect the appraisal to justify the price paid.
What I tell everyone is this: Plan on putting more down than you expected. For example if a property sells for 300k and it appraises for 250k, the institution lends a percentage of 250k THEN the buyer has to put up the extra $50k in additional cash down. That is why Tampa Bay residential properties are closing with 50% being cash transactions overall with waterfront properies at the beach at 75% cash.
The effect of all this is that all purchases are by people who "can afford it+". There has not been this much equity going into home purchases since the depression.
If you don't live in a hot market (previously a depressed market) it is hard to understand (for buyers and their lenders). Best to educate lenders, buyers and sellers up front!