The Tampa metro area continues to hold the top spot in the nation for institutional investor real estate purchases, despite a dramatic drop in such sales over the past couple of years. As foreclosures and short sales have dwindled, so have these cash sales. But before that downturn, investors purchased thousands of homes throughout Florida, taking advantage of the bank-owned property sales while the prices remained low. In May 2012, bank-owned sales accounted for 15.7 percent of all single-family home and condominium sales in the Tampa metro region. They accounted for 16 percent a year later.