Rental prices in Tampa skyrocketing, report shows

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. – If your job is suddenly allowing you to work from anywhere, the Tampa Bay area is quickly becoming one of the most popular places to rent in the country.

Realtor.com’s latest rent data shows a decline in cost in 36 of the nation’s largest housing markets compared to last year. During the pandemic, rent across the country has dipped just slightly for one and two bedrooms on average, but some of the nation’s priciest cities have seen much larger drops.

But, in the Tampa Bay area, studio apartments saw the second-largest rent spike this year in Hillsborough County, with a 28.4% increase for studios, with median rent sitting at $1,245.

The draws including warm weather, attractions, and new neighborhoods coming to life are causing rental units to get gobbled up and prices to go up.

“I assumed just because we are growing, it’s a very growing city. So it makes sense for it to be pretty expensive here in Tampa,” said Natalia Bonnilla, a University of Tampa student who rents in the city.

Real estate agent Doug Wood of Smith & Associates Real Estate agrees that Tampa’s appeal is causing a rental boom.

“Tampa’s become very popular. There’s a lot of people moving to town from up north: New York, Chicago, even from California,” Wood said.

Another big factor came to life during the pandemic.

“People can work from anywhere now. The remote working, so why not live in a great place? So, that’s causing a reduction in the inventory,” Wood said.

Wood says that reduction causes prices to rise and thinks things will begin to cool off in the future, perhaps months down the road, but there is no way to tell especially as the area’s popularity grows.

“With the Rays and the Bucs and Tom Brady and the Lightning, this is a great place to live. And it’s attracting a lot of folks,” Wood said.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is perhaps hardest hit by the rent declines. San Francisco leads the nation with a 31% median rent drop, and four other nearby counties landed in the top 10 for small apartment price declines.

You can dig into the numbers for yourself on Realtor.com.

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