TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The cost of housing is still high, but the latest data from Apartment List shows that November rent went down a little. Despite the drop, Tampa-area rent is still up more than 30% compared to last year.

According to the Apartment List data, Tampa’s rent went down 0.6% in the month of November, but compared to prices in 2020, rent is still up 24.1%. Median rents in Tampa for a one-bedroom apartment are at $1,458 and two-bedrooms are priced out at $1,777.

The study said Tampa “leads the state average at 30.6%” for increases in Florida. For perspective’s sake, the national average cost of a two-bedroom apartment is $1,285 per month.

Nationally, rent prices are up 17.7%, lower than the costs rising in Tampa and the rest of Florida.

Cities in Tampa Bay lean on the less-than-affordable side of rent, and wages are not rising fast enough to meet the housing needs of workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported wages decreased 1.6% in October.

Decreased wages and higher housing costs have an obvious and immediate effect on the costs that households are hit with to live and what they can afford.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a cost-burdened household as one that pays more than 30% of its income on rent or mortgages. A Zillow study found that all of the renters in Tampa meet that definition. Tampa households pay between 33.1% to 37.7% of their income on rent, depending on race.

Two-bedroom apartments serve as somewhat of a litmus test on affordability, when it comes to housing and HUD.

The fair market rent of an area is used by HUD to determine affordability, and how much a Housing Choice Voucher for public housing and Section 8 benefits are worth. This is what is used to pay for low-income beneficiaries who receive housing assistance from the federal government, funded by tax dollars.

HUD reports the 2021 fair market rent for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, which covers most of Tampa Bay, is currently between $880 to $1,910, depending on the ZIP code. Most of the locations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro have a fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment of about $1,300.

Compared to Tampa’s average for a two-bedroom apartment, St. Petersburg is priced out at $1,830, about $50 more per month. Tampa’s rent increased 34.1% and St. Pete’s went up 31.7%, according to the study.

For 2022, HUD shows the fair market rent costs are going up, making the burden of housing costs for America’s most vulnerable residents even more expensive, and passing that expense back to taxpayers. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro FMR is going to range from $930 to $2,020 for a two-bedroom apartment, depending on ZIP code.

Meanwhile, inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic continue, with fuel costs rising and a new COVID variant, Omicron, coming into play.

While President Joe Biden announced that there would not be a lockdown for Omicron, rising costs on everything from meats to glass to shipping make a continuing economic recovery even more precarious due to continually increasing inflation.

While job numbers were up in October, the latest BLS reports on the American economy and workforce, due out on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 respectively, will paint a clearer picture of what to expect, come New Year’s Day. How the country will move forward amid continued economic pressures of pandemic recovery and potential political upheaval in the 2022 midterms is uncertain.

In the meantime, the federal government has updated the caps on multifamily mortgages and loans from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the federally-backed home mortgage companies. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced new funding formula updates in October.

New mortgages in 2022 backed by the two mortgage companies could hit between $650,000 in most counties to $1 million for high-cost markets as housing costs in the U.S. continue to increase.