Tampa residents may need at least $85K to afford rent, study shows

How much do you have to make to afford rent in Tampa? New data collected by Florida Atlantic University may provide an answer.

Researchers at FAU compiled the Waller, Weeks and Johnson Rental Index to study which U.S. cities are the most overpriced. Tampa is the 18th most expensive metro area on the index.

The average cost of rent in the Tampa metro area was $2,118.75, according to April data.

Based on that number, Tampeños who make $84,750.12 or less are considered “rent burdened,” meaning they spend at least 30% of their income on rent. Those who make $50,850.07 or less are considered severely rent burdened, meaning they spend at least half their income on rent.

The average income for Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater is $57,500, according to a May report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ken H. Johnson, a real estate economist in FAU’s College of Business, said that Tampa has seen rapid increases in rent since the pandemic. Though those increases are slowing now, we likely won’t experience a significant drop in prices.

“It’s going to take our incomes catching up rather than rents backing up to become affordable,” Johnson said.

Still, Tampa is relatively affordable compared to other markets across the country, and even across the state. Florida cities dominated this month’s rental index, with Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Miami, North Port-Bradenton and Deltona all ranking in the top 10.

For Miami, which came in at No. 8 on the index, anyone who makes $112,183.83 or less is considered rent burdened.

Johnson said Florida is at a particular disadvantage because the state has seen such tremendous population growth.

“We have people coming in in massive numbers and we’re just not building units fast enough,” he said. “The result of that is we have both high home prices and high rent prices.”

The Tampa Bay Times has a team of reporters focusing on rising costs in our region. If you have an idea, question or story to tell, please email us at costofliving@tampabay.com.

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