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Colorful Ybor City
Luis Santana/Tampa

Five years ago, few would have predicted that. Like most places in Florida, Tampa was hit hard by the real estate crisis. The median home price fell from $210,000 in 2006 to $91,000 in 2011, according to Zillow. But to new arrivals, that can look like an advantage. While prices have risen in the past three years, they’re still more than a third below 2006 peaks. A 1920s three-bedroom bungalow in the Seminole Heights section or a newer four-bedroom home in the planned community of Tampa Palms can be had for less than $300,000.

Tampa’s potential isn’t tied just to affordable real estate. A recent airport expansion helped bring flights from Seattle and Zurich and in turn helped lure a Bristol-Myers Squibb marketing and IT center with 600 jobs. An Amazon distribution plant, opened last year, brought 1,000 more. Moody’s estimates job growth in Tampa at nearly 15% in the next five years. “Tampa still isn’t on the radar of people in the Northeast and the Midwest,” says Jeffrey Vinik, a former hedge fund manager (and owner of the hockey team), who is also investing in redevelopment projects and a new medical center. He moved his family here from Boston three years ago. “I think it’s going boom,” Vinik says.