MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – The cost of keeping a roof over your head is climbing, especially if you happen to live in the Sunshine State. In the last 12 months, the nation’s top 13 cities with the fastest rent increases were in Florida, according to data from Apartment List.

Bradenton, Town ‘n’ Country, and Sarasota fall within the top five.

Annual rent growth (since Oct. 2020) :

  1. Naples, FL – up 49%
  2. Bradenton, FL – up 47%
  3. Palm Beach Gardens, FL – up 43%
  4. Town ‘n’ Country, FL – up 42%
  5. Sarasota, FL – up 42%

“It is getting expensive everywhere, but specifically within Florida, Tampa region is the region that has seen the fastest rent growth,” said senior research associate at Apartment List Rob Warnock.

Ryntal Property Management serves the Sarasota and Manatee County region. The owner Tom Wagenhauser tells 8 On Your Side they’re seeing the lowest inventory in their 12-year history.

“When we put a property up for rent on our website, the number of calls that we get on it are unlike any number that we have ever had in the past,” said Wagenhauser.

He said the increased demand and increase in rent prices is also bringing new investors to the market.

“We think it is wonderful because we are seeing investments in these properties. They are making a lot of improvements in them and really elevating the quality for everybody in the area, not just those moving into the area,” said Wagenhauser.

The tough side of the price hikes, Wagenhauser says, is watching the working-class struggle to make ends meet.

“It has been very difficult for an average service person in the area. The cost of living and rent as a percentage of their wages has definitely gone up. It really speaks to the need for us as a community to try and figure out some ways to support those folks and find some affordable housing for them or develop that affordable housing,” he explained.

Apartment List has also been tracking data since the pandemic first began in March 2020.

“It’s not necessarily the biggest cities in Florida that are seeing this increase, but certainly it speaks to the fact that the rent prices that are going up across the country, Florida really is the epicenter of that and a lot of these cities are experiencing price increases greater than 40% year-over-year which puts a lot of strain on affordability in the area,” said Warnock.

Bradenton topped the pandemic-era rent growth list compiled by Apartment List.

Pandemic-era rent growth (since March 2020) :

  1. Bradenton, FL – up 48%
  2. Fairburn, GA – up 48%
  3. Plant City, FL – up 47%
  4. Town ‘n’ Country, FL – up 46%
  5. Victorville, CA -up 45%

“The accelerated growth is really something that I don’t think we would’ve ever expected to see before COVID really shook up the market,” he continued.