TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa homeowners are paying more for their homes, and their mortgages than any other city in the state of Florida, according to national real estate brokerage Redfin.

The company’s latest data on housing costs for Americans showed both down payments for mortgages and rent increases in Tampa were the highest in the state.

Rent was up a reported 31% from January 2021 to January 2022, according to Redfin. Mortgage down payments were up almost 40%, putting the cost of housing for buyers and renters higher.

The Redfin study ranks the top 10 metro areas with the fastest rent hikes from January to January. Tampa is at No. 7 nationwide, but is the No. 1 rate increase among Florida metros. Here are the rankings for yearly rent growth, according to Redfin.

  1. Portland, Ore., up 39%
  2. Austin, Texas, up 35%
  3. Newark, N.J., up 33%
  4. Nassau County, N.Y., up 33%
  5. New York, N.Y., up 33%
  6. New Brunswick, N.J., up 33%
  7. Tampa, Fla., up 31%
  8. Fort Lauderdale, Fla., up 31%
  9. West Palm Beach, Fla., up 31%
  10. Miami, Fla., up 31%

According to Redfin, the top 10 monthly mortgages with 5% down payment increases were spread out across the U.S., but three of the metros were in Florida.

  1. Austin, Texas, up 44%
  2. Tampa, Fla., up 37.8%
  3. Las Vegas, Nev., up 37.3%
  4. Jacksonville, Fla., up 36.2%
  5. Fort Worth, Texas, up 36%
  6. Atlanta, Ga., up 35.3%
  7. Charlotte, N.C., up 33.6%
  8. Nashville, Tenn., up 32.9%
  9. Orlando, Fla., up 32.6%
  10. Riverside, Cali., up 32.4%

Ongoing issues of inventory and affordability have made housing into a national crisis, and Tampa is toward the top of the rankings for both cost and shortage across the U.S. To address this, Tampa’s City Council is weighing different strategies for what they call “rent stabilization.” The city council will meet on Feb. 24 for a workshop on the subject, searching for solutions to Tampa’s housing crisis.

Tampa renters are spending as much as 42% of their monthly income on rent. Developers and city officials alike are trying to find ways to build homes and apartments fast enough to balance out the demand, but cost increases to materials, fuel, and a lack of space to build have added to the difficulty.

Sales of new homes are dropping as prices rise. Meanwhile, 25% of Tampa’s available homes are purchased by investors, not families. Some of those properties are turned into single-family rentals, but a home bought by an investor is a way to preserve equity, not just a place to house the families moving to Florida every day.

In October 2021, City Council Chairman Orlando Gudes and Councilman Charlie Miranda created a study for the city’s legal department to review ordinances in other cities aimed at stabilizing rent increases to address housing affordability. The workshop tomorrow will review that report.

While enacting an ordinance to freeze or slow down rental price increases, the report to the council explains that such an ordinance is not without risk.

While the city’s position is that there is a likely housing emergency occurring, currently proposed legislation in the 2022 legislative session could put Tampa in the crosshairs of businesses for potentially hurting profits through an ordinance that would force them to reduce how fast they increase rental charges.

The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 620 or the Local Business Protection Act, would allow businesses to sue municipal governments for ordinances that hurt profit margins by 15% or more. The city council has already repealed a noise ordinance that would have opened up litigation for harming businesses across the city that host events.

Separately, House Bill 6017, proposed in the Florida House of Representatives, would remove a one-year expiration of rent control ordinances from state statutes.

The city report on rent stabilization efforts name both bills as reasons to hold off on enacting some policies until after the legislative session concludes in March. While they wait for the session to end, Tampa has a $1 million fund that would be used through its Housing and Community Development Department to assist residents at 80% to 140% of the Area Median Income with rental and moving assistance, with individual awards based on household needs.

Once the Rental and Move-In Assistance Program is live, households could apply for funding to help with move-in expenses like security deposits, first and last months’ rent, or monthly rental payments, depending on their level of need. The report notes that the “enactment of a rent stabilization ordinance is very risky and is highly likely to be challenged.”

The council workshop begins at 9 a.m., Thursday. While the meeting progresses, political action group Florida Rising will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m., when the city council is expected to review the stabilization effort.