TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/NewsNation Now) — Strapped inventory and dramatic price increases are making Florida’s housing affordability a big problem, even for people with jobs in high demand.

Joe Flahie, an ICU nurse, lives in Miami with his wife and two kids, but can no longer afford the rent.

“I have a great job at probably the best-paying hospital in the city of Miami,” Flahie told NewsNation. “I love my job. I love my hospital. I think it is more of a bigger problem systemically.”

With one call from his landlord, Flahie’s rent went from $1,725 a month to $2,400, a nearly 40% increase.

“My landlord said to me, ‘It’s not personal,’” Flahie told NewsNation. “But I said, ‘When you are dealing with people’s homes, it is personal.’” Flahie told NewsNation he likes his place, but said it doesn’t have any amenities such as a pool or a gym.

“It looks like a strong possibility we are going to have to relocate,” Flahie said. “We are going to rent for another year here and re-evaluate. But it will be one of the most painful things ever to me to leave Miami.

According to recent Zumper real estate data, rent increases are becoming the name of the game. The country’s most expensive rent is in New York City, where a one-bedroom is renting for as much a median price of $3,260.

In Zumper’s top 10 cities with high rent prices, Miami and Fort Lauderdale both entered the ranks for priciest one-bedroom apartments, while the rest of the nation has averaged a 12% rent increase for one-bedroom apartments.

  1. New York, N.Y. – $3,260/month
  2. San Francisco, Calif. – $2,850/month
  3. Boston, Mass. – $2,720/month
  4. San Jose, Calif. – $2,390/month
  5. Miami, Fla. – $2,340/month
  6. District of Columbia – $2,250/month
  7. Los Angeles, Calif. – $2,220/month
  8. Oakland, Calif. – $2,100/month
  9. San Diego, Calif. – $2,070/month
  10. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – $1,940/month

The fact that two Florida cities are included in the most expensive cities to rent in is less of a surprise than it used to be, particularly in light of cost increases surging across the state in areas like Miami and Orlando, but also Tampa Bay. While prices surge in Florida, it’s not the only place where renters are seeing their costs go up, like Las Vegas or Memphis. In Florida cities covered in the Zumper study, cities like Tampa, Orlando and Miami all saw rent increases over 25% in the past year.

ApartmentList, another real estate company, said rent across the board went up by a “record-setting 18%.” According to their rental data, while prices fell slightly at the end of 2021, it was a short-lived decrease.

“Over the most recent four months, monthly growth has averaged just 0.2 percent, with a total increase of less than one percent over that period,” ApartmentList reported. “In December, rents actually fell by 0.2 percent, the only time they did so in 2021. That price dip proved to be short lived, but this month’s increase was still a modest one.”

Both studies and companies agree New York is still the most expensive city to rent in. While Zumper mostly focused its data analysis on prices, ApartmentList also focused on the speed of the the price increases, what it calls rent growth.

According to the ApartmentList study, there are three Florida cities in the top 10 fastest growing rent prices for cities. Two are in Tampa Bay.

  1. New York City, N.Y. – 33.5% rent growth
  2. Tampa, Fla. – 31.4% rent growth
  3. Scottsdale, Ariz. – 31.1% rent growth
  4. Orlando, Fla. – 30.1% rent growth
  5. Mesa, Ariz. – 29.5% rent growth
  6. St. Petersburg, Fla. – 29.3% rent growth
  7. Irvine, Calif. – 28% rent growth
  8. Phoenix, Ariz. – 27.9% rent growth
  9. Glendale, Ariz. – 27.5% rent growth
  10. Las Vegas, Nev. – 27.4% rent growth

While it wasn’t quite in the top 10, Jacksonville wasn’t far behind, with its own rent growth sitting at a 25% mark-up compared to last year. The growth factor and pricing is different between cities like Tampa and New York, too.

ApartmentList said that while New York City rents grew fastest in 2021 but had a dip at the start of the pandemic before COVID-19 prices surged, Tampa never had a rent price decline.

“Tampa never experienced a meaningful decline in rents at the start of the pandemic, and rents there are now 34.3 percent higher than they were in March 2020,” ApartmentList reported. The study also said that while there are cities with slower rent growth, compared to other areas of the U.S., rent across the country are still having their rents grow “rapidly by historic standards,” putting the issue of affordability front and center.

Tampa is also quickly becoming a go-to movers’ market. In the last quarter of 2021, more people moved to Tampa than any other place in Florida. Across the state, 16% of all Florida homes purchased just in Tampa. It was a trend that held steady through most of the past year.

Armando Alvarez, a realtor, told NewsNation the higher cost of living and renting is causing more people to look for roommates, or rethink where they stay, or consider relocation to the suburbs.

“A lot of people are starting to have to rent an AirBnB, stay with friends or family in the meantime while they try to find a place to rent,” Alvarez told NewsNation. “It’s tough. It’s tough to watch.”

As prices go up, the available inventory to move to is still shrinking. ApartmentList reported the rental market is still tight, with fewer vacant units to move to even if you can pay the price. While prices aren’t growing as fast as they did earlier, the limited number of homes continues to burden American families.