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Rental Rates Increased By Double Digits In The Tampa Bay Area, Study Says

An aparment building in Tampa's Channel District
Developers who are building more expensive apartments, like this one in Tampa's Channel District, are contributing to the increases in average rental rates. Credit: Apartment Guide

The cost of rent for apartments in the Tampa Bay Area and other parts of Florida is climbing at a faster rate than many other parts of the country. 

Overall, Florida had the eighth highest rent increase for one-bedroom apartments in 2019, according to the 2020 Rent Report released by the Apartment Guide.

The increase in some Florida cities was even more pronounced. Among the 100 cities compared in the study, St. Petersburg had the fourth highest rental rate increase for a one-bedroom apartment last year.  The city’s average rent for a one-bedroom increased nearly 20 percent to $1,545.85 in 2019. 

The study also found:

  • The average rent for a studio apartment increased by 13.4 percent in Tampa and 28.5% in St. Petersburg in 2019.
  • For one-bedroom apartments, the average rent rose 10% in Orlando, 19.9% in St. Petersburg and 21.7% in Miami.
  • For two-bedroom apartments, the average rent increased 19.5% in St. Petersburg, 18.1% in Miami, 12% in Tampa and 10.5% in Orlando.

Several factors could be behind the increase, said Brian Carberry, managing editor for the Apartment Guide. For one, Tampa and St. Petersburg have become more popular places to live, he said.
“It's a little bit less expensive than some of the other areas in Florida,” he said about St. Petersburg. “But you have the same great weather, the same neighborhood and city features that you're going to get in some of these larger cities.”

Developers are also building more expensive apartments in Tampa and St. Petersburg, which increases the average rental rates, Carberry said.

People who want to live in the area may have to consider what the high rental costs will mean for their quality of life, he said.

“If people spend more money than they afford to live, it stands to the reason they are going to have less money to do other things that they would do in their life,” Carberry said.

He did offer some advice for renters who are working with a tight budget.

“If you want to live in a popular city or a popular neighborhood, maybe, get a roommate or go for a smaller unit,” he said. He added that talking to the landlord about the security deposit or some discounts could also be useful.

Renters should also create a list of wants and needs and choose an apartment based on their needs first.

And he said where you live in an apartment building can make a difference.

“If you're in a large building, try living on a middle floor because you're going to get the heat and the AC from your neighbors,” he said.

Angela Cordoba Perez is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for the spring 2020 semester. Currently, she is a sophomore at USF majoring in mass communications and completing a minor in psychology.