TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A sign the housing market in tampa is slowing down, Home sales fell nearly 20% in September.

According to Stellar MLS, 692 homes were sold in Tampa in September, 165 fewer than were sold in August, a 19% drop in one month.

“I’m more surprised it hasn’t gone down a little bit lower,” said Dan Kempka, a broker associate with Compass Florida Real Estate.

Kempka believes the spike in interest rates is the main reason, on top of already-low inventory.

“Now that we’ve had four or five interest rate rises, I describe it as a lot of my clients look like Bambi in the headlights,” Kempka said. “They’re just kind of frozen, not sure what to do, calling me. ‘What do you think? What do you think? Where’s the market going.'”

The result is more prospective home buyers are proceeding with caution.

“It won’t take us out of the market, but it’s really, really stressed the monthly budgeting,” said homebuyer David Batson, who signed a contract to build a home in the Tampa Bay area last year.

At the time, he was calculating with interest just over 3%, but rates have since doubled.

That means his monthly mortgage payment now costs over $1,000 more a month than he expected.

“Incredibly stressful. We budget rate to the dollar as retirees, soon-to-be retirees, so we’re looking at every dollar,” Batson said.

As of now, Kempka said home prices aren’t dropping as fast as home sales, but he believed the market could slowly shift back to a buyer’s market.

“This is the time to ask for some more things on your offers. Offer a little bit lower maybe, maybe get some concessions to help pay for closing costs, those kind of things you couldn’t do six months ago,” Kempka said.