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Where do the rich live in Tampa?

Snell Isle, St. Petersburg

Why are the rich moving to Tampa?

Want to know why the rich are moving to Florida? If you are looking for a state with no state income tax and no estate taxes, look no further. There are 33 states with no inheritance tax but only 9 states with no state income tax. And yes! Florida is one of them. This might be a major reason why Tampa Bay has recently become an attractive landing spot for the rich to live, play and work.

Thanks to the Netflix reality series, Selling Tampa, Tampa had its moment outside of the shadows of Florida’s most popular city, Miami. If you watched the show (not personally recommended) you probably didn’t realize that a majority of the scenes were filmed outside of Tampa. Instead, you saw luxury homes and restaurants in St. Petersburg. “Tampa” primarily consists of Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater, a.k.a Tampa Bay. 

Tampa Bay is typically not on the radar for the wealthy to live when compared to the ultra-wealthy area Miami-Dade County. I’ve lived in and visited the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area for many years. I do not understand why so many flocks to the area.  It is congested, rude, and overly populated. When you think of a waterfront and beach lifestyle, do you really want to sit in traffic and visit crowded beaches? So yes, I am biased. I love the low-key, convenient waterfront friendly lifestyle of Tampa Bay. 

Furthermore, the cost of living in Tampa is considerably less than in other wealthy areas. If you are part of the rich class looking to relocate, you can definitely get more bang for your buck in Tampa. If you want to find the nicest neighborhoods in Tampa, keep reading.

Reasons why the rich are moving to Tampa

Like it or not, in Florida mask mandates and outdoor dining were short-lived during the pandemic. Sitting outside a restaurant in freezing cold temperatures caused a lot of CEOs from New York, Boston, and Chicago to take a look south. The pandemic amplified Tampa Bay as a hub for start-ups and it became very attractive to the tech and financial industries. Due to its access to resources, available workforce, low costs of doing business, and work-life balance, Tampa was named in the Top 10 Best Places to Start a Business in 2022.  

St Petersburg Economic Development Corp reported 94 companies made the move in 2021. A few of the companies that made the move to the area were;

Other big names like USAA, Citi Group, Metlife, and JPMorgan Chase have expanded to the Tampa Bay area. 

Fintech companies have made the biggest impact on the Tampa area. Tampa Bay’s fintech industry’s double-digit growth is being led by its extensive talent pool, quality of life, and my personal favorite, a friendly business environment.

Defining the work-life balance for the rich in Tampa

Currently, wealthy individuals are finding Tampa Bay more and more attractive. With over 250 days of sunshine annually, miles and miles of white sandy beaches, and the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, no state income tax and no estate tax. We have that too!

Major league sports are another attraction for many. Here is a list of a few in the area:

  • Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies (MLS)
  • New York Yankees Spring Training
  • Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training

These are some of the beneficial reasons the rich are moving to Tampa. However, needless to say, it is all about the view. The highest concentration of luxury home sales was in waterfront neighborhoods. Tampa Bay is comprised of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, and Manatee counties. For this article, we focused on Hillsborough (Tampa) and Pinellas (Clearwater-St.Pete) Counties. During our research, we found these 2 counties had the highest concentration of wealthy neighborhoods. You may not find these counties on Kiplinger’s list of “Where the Millionaires Live” but the exquisite homes and waterfront lifestyle are nothing to turn up your nose to.  

Waterfront and water views are the main attraction. Every wealthy neighborhood that made our list has luxury waterfront properties.  However, convenience to international airports and the availability of high-end shopping and restaurants are important factors.  

Old Tampa Bay, Tampa Florida

The research of Tampa's Richest Neighborhoods

Defining a luxury home in Tampa Bay

The Certified Luxury Home Marketing Institute (CLHMS), defines the luxury market as the top 10% of home sales in a given area. In Tampa Bay that equates to home sales of $750,000. Unfortunately, this can open the door for a hodge-podge of locations as well. For this article, we focused on the areas where the wealthy actually live and feel comfortable investing their money while enjoying the privacy they desire.

In the past 2 years, Tampa Bay (along with much of the country) experienced 24-28% year-over-year home price increases causing many areas to see higher than average sales prices. It was our intention to focus on communities with stable luxury home sales. For that reason,  the bar was set at $5,000,000 to ensure we found the best of the best for the rich to live in Tampa Bay.

It is also important to note, we looked back 2 years for sold property values to determine the highest concentration of luxury home sales. Home prices exceeding $5,000,000 is still rare in the area. Tampa Bay is still considered a great value for the wealthy to live, especially if you are comparing it to areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Boise, or Miami.

Running the numbers back 2 years allowed us to see home sales that might be overlooked if we didn’t.  

Defining the average sales price of the wealthiest neighborhoods.

For the average price, we only went back 12 months. The average price for the past year is important to show the neighborhood is keeping up with the higher-priced sales and it shows the stability of the area. Neighborhoods and communities with average home sales of less than $1,500,000 were excluded. It isn’t common for someone to want to spend $5,000,000 on a home and be across the street from a $300,000 house. 

The best Tampa Bay neighborhoods for the rich

We have defined the Tampa Bay area, the criteria for a neighborhood to make the cut, and an overview of what attracts the rich to live in Tampa. Below we share what makes the neighborhood so attractive to the wealthy homeowner. If you want to live where the rich lives, keep reading. 

If you prefer less hype, less traffic, privacy, and convenience with amazing views, one of these neighborhoods might be the place for you. Keep reading and we will the richest neighborhoods in Tampa Bay, keep reading. 

Tampa - Hillsborough County

Surprisingly enough Tampa (Hillsborough County), had the fewest sales over $5,000,000 compared to Pinellas County, only 38 compared to 42. Even though it had the fewer sales that hit our list, Tampa did have the most expensive transaction with a $22 million dollar sale in the highly sought-after neighborhood of Davis Island. 

where the rich live in tampa

Old Tampa Bay

Old Tampa Bay area is west of Westshore Boulevard and south of the Howard Franklin Bridge. It was originally purchased by Colonel Harry C. Culbreath of South Carolina when moved his family’s homestead to the area after the Civil War. The area was primarily developed in the 1960s by dredging canals to create the isles. Waterfront neighborhoods of Beach Park, Culbreath Isles, Stoney Point, and Sunset Park offer some of the most breathtaking sunsets, deep water docks, quiet streets, and well-manicured properties.

The convenience of an international airport, business centers, shopping, and dining makes Old Tampa Bay a great spot!

Beach Park

Beach Park (including Beach Park Isles) sits along the waterfront of Tampa Bay and is considered one of Tampa’s finest neighborhoods for the rich to live. The area was originally developed in the 1920s with the popular Mediterranean architecture found throughout Florida’s historic luxury areas. It is also conveniently located just minutes from the interstate and Westshore Business district.

Beach Park is known to many as one of the nicest neighborhoods in Tampa. Currently, there are 3 new construction homes available for sale ranging from $6,995,000 to $12,995,000. Five luxury homes have sold in the area with the highest priced home selling in June 2022 for $9,890,000, built by Tulia Homes.

Culbreath Isles

Culbreath Isles was originally developed in the 1960s by Joe Byars (commonly written incorrectly as Joe Byers) and George Thompson. There are fewer than 200 homes in this 24-hour guard gated neighborhood. Home to some of Tampa Bay’s most influential families, Culbreath Isles homes offer deep water docks and beautiful sunsets. 

Local News Channel 8  named Culbreath Isles one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Tampa.  Our research shows only 5 neighborhoods that met the criteria for where the rich want to live. Culbreath Isles had the lowest luxury sales price but the 2nd highest overall average price.

There have only been two sales in the Culbreath Isles neighborhood above $5m. The average sales price for all homes in this exclusive neighborhood was $3,278,000 and the lowest sales price was $1,975,000.

Sunset Park and Sunset Isles

Development of Sunset Park began in the early 1900’s by Charles Glover. His wife, Alma, was a poet and influenced her husband to name the streets after classic poets like Tennyson, Poe, and Longfellow. The area still holds romantic charm with sprawling live oaks and original 1920’s homes. Most of the older homes have been replaced with more modern homes over the past few decades.

In the past year, 28 homes sold in Sunset Park and Sunset Isles with the average price of almost 2.5m. The highest priced sale in this neighborhood was an exquisite 10,879 SF waterfront home sitting on nearly an acre.  It was originally listed for $12m and sold for $10,800,000 in May 2022. 

Davis Island

Mimicking the man-made island-development of Fisher Island in Miami, David Paul Davis, created Davis Island during the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s. Davis Island is located off the northern part of Bayshore Boulevard and is primarily a residential area. The island also consists of a hospital, airport, restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, a beach, and yacht club.

Davis Island tops our list with 2 awards – the highest number of homes sold over $5m (9 total) and highest priced home sale. The average sold price on Davis Island over the past year was $2,785,794. The most expensive home sale, A.K.A Derek Jetter’s old house, was originally listed for $29,000,000 and sold for $22.5m in May 2021. This home has 7 bedrooms, 8 baths and 8 half baths, and a 6-car garage with just under 22,000 square feet of living space and 345 feet of waterfront footage.

Davis Island may not be as convenient to the airport but it is the ultimate mailing address in South Tampa. Located in the heart of South Tampa, the restaurants, bars, sporting events, and more are just a golf-cart ride away. You can also enjoy Gasparilla pirate invasion and waterfront celebrations from your dock. 

Tam[a Bay Lightning celebration near Davis Island
Bayshore Boulevard

Bayshore Boulevard is the quintessential street in South Tampa. Locally we consider it the place where the rich live in Tampa.

Bayshore is known for its luxury estates but it is also known as the largest contiguous pedestrian walkway in the world, stretching 4.5 miles along Tampa Bay. It is the ideal place for a scenic stroll, cycling, running, or rollerblading. 

In the past year, there have been only 5 home sales along Bayshore, ranging from 3.5m to 6.5m. It is important to note, that the average lot size is 0.5 acres, which for a dense urban area is substantial. 

St. Pete - Clearwater (Pinellas County)

If you want to know where the rich live in Tampa, you have to look outside of Tampa. The rich actually live across the bay in Pinellas County.

Once known as “Heaven’s waiting room”, Pinellas County has seen tremendous growth and development over the past 20 years. With over 587 miles of coastline, the area has become a hotspot for young entrepreneurs looking to capture an ideal work-life balance. Even though Clearwater is the county seat, St. Pete has the largest population. Known for its murals, boutique restaurants, breweries, and museums, St. Pete is now the hotspot of Tampa Bay.

st. pete clearwater richest neighborhoods
Tierra Verde
Tierra Verde in St. Petersburg Florida

I was actually surprised Tierra Verde made the list. It is the ideal Florida island community. However, historically the prices in Tierra Verde haven’t compared to other luxury boating island communities in Florida. I personally believe all of this will change now the new bridge has been completed. Tierra Verde is located off the southernmost tip of Pinellas County with yacht clubs, restaurants, and shopping. It is connected to St. Pete and St. Pete Beach by the Pinellas Bayway. TV serves as the gateway to Fort De Soto, a 1,136 state park known for fishing, biking, kayaking, picnics, camping, and much more.

Oceanview Drive is considered one of the top 5 most expensive streets in Tampa Bay. Two of the five most expensive homes in Tierra Verde were located on Oceanview Drive. The average sales price in this island community was $1,888,677 with the highest price selling for $9,950,000

Snell Isle
Snell Isle bridge in St. Pete

If you live in St. Petersburg you know Brightwaters Boulevard boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the area. Running along the Tampa Bay waterfront of Snell Isle, Brightwaters is St. Pete’s quintessential street.  Plus, it is only a short golf cart ride to downtown St. Pete.

Originally developed in the early 1900s by Perry Snell, who loved Spanish and Italian architecture, the neighborhood is primarily comprised of 1950’s homes that are being torn down to make way for more luxurious new construction. 

In the past 2 years, there have been 5 homes to sell above the $5m mark on Snell Isle, with the highest sale at $6,500,000. Currently, there are 3 homes under construction, all listed for$10,000,000. The average sales price on Snell Isle was $1,869,953 and the average sales price on Brightwaters Blvd was $2,928,601. 

Belleair Beach

Belleair is most well-known for the historic Belleview-Biltmore Resort and Spa built in 1897. It closed in 2009 due to neglect. The historic resort was beautifully relocated and renovated as the Belleview Inn by The Opal Collection and reopened in 2018 and is a destination boutique hotel. The surrounding area of Belleair was originally developed in the early 1900s as a planned resort town for the hotel.

Land value along this area of Gulf Boulevard is nothing to bat your eyes at. A “tear-down” in sold in November 2021 for $3,630,000 and sold again less than a month later for $4,500,000. We did not use both sales for calculating average sales price, only the latter.

The highest-priced sale in Belleair Beach was $8,500,000. This home has 3400 heated square feet and 164 feet of beach frontage. You would be hard-pressed to find this much space on the beach with amazing sunset views anywhere else. 

Notable Areas

Watching the sunset from your living room window with a beach in your backyard sounds like a dream! Gulf Boulevard running from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach is ideal for the luxury homeowner. Most of the homes along Gulf Boulevard in Pinellas county are not in your traditional neighborhoods. However, we felt it important to include this strip because it is where some of the rich choose to live in Tampa. 

Clearwater Beach

Because of its popularity, we expected to see more high-end sales in the Clearwater Beach area but the sales numbers were not there to make the cut. However, Clearwater Beach has been one of the country’s highest-ranking beach destinations for decades, with miles of powdery-white sand and warm water. Currently, Clearwater Beach had only 2 active luxury listings at the time of our research, with the highest price coming in at $18,000,000. Located in Carlouel Beach and Yacht Club on the northern tip of the barrier island, this home was built in 1999 and has almost 12,000 square feet of living space on 120 feet of protected waterfront. 

pass a grille beach

Pass-a-Grille is located on the southernmost tip of St. Pete Beach. The area had only one home sale over $5,000,000 but we added it to the list because it is one of the most desired areas and best-kept secrets of the locals. Being one of our local favorites is what has probably kept this old beach town so quiet and quaint. If you are looking to explore the area on your next trip, just head to the famous Don Cesar Resort and go south. The historic district is full of shops and restaurants, plenty of beach parking, fishing piers, sidewalks, and much more.

Making a move to Tampa Bay

If you are considering Tampa Bay as your new home, we hope this information helps you identify some neighborhoods of interest. For more details on the area please reach out to YES today.

YES-HOMES has been selling luxury homes in Tampa Bay for over 20 years. YES-Homes has the knowledge and experience to help you find your new home.

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