TAMPA, Fla. — If you are thinking about making the move to Florida, the Tampa Bay area is one of the most affordable regions in the state.
It's not all gators and Florida man. Beyond Disney World and the beaches, there is a lot to do here.
One of the first factors you will have to consider before moving is where to live. Luckily here in the Tampa Bay area, there are a lot of options, from suburban homes to high-rise apartments.
Rent will vary by the neighborhood; but on average, a one-bedroom apartment will cost you around $1,600 in Tampa, according to CoStar Group.
In Clearwater, rent is slightly more inexpensive, costing you an average of $1,575 a month. You can find apartments for under $1,000 or more than $2,000, but more than 70 percent of apartments will fall in between those rent prices.
However, if you want to live in St. Petersburg, you can expect to pay the highest of the three, at $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
If you're looking to move, you may want to do it soon. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, more than 500,000 new residents have moved to Florida between January 2020 and April 2021. That data only includes the people who have switched to a Florida driver's license. Florida was the No. 1 relocation destination for Americans in 2020.
Rent in Clearwater and St. Petersburg continues to go up, increasing by several hundred dollars a month since 2018. Experts believe there is no sign of slowing down for at least the next few years.
"People aren't going to stop moving to Tampa. What we're looking for and what we're looking at is the amount of construction, both single-family and multi-family. If we don't build enough housing, we could still see some above-average rent growth for a few years and some aggressive rent hikes," said David Kahn, director of market analytics for CoStar.
The Florida Apartment Association estimates Florida needs to build up to 48,000 new apartments each year to meet the growing demand. As of July 2019, Florida has a shortage of 428,622 affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renters.
If you are looking to live in Tampa, there are tons of price options to fit your budget.
The most expensive neighborhoods include North Hyde Park, Harbour Island, Southeast Tampa, the Channel District, and Uptown Tampa. Rent will most likely fall anywhere between $1,900 and $2,200 for a one-bedroom apartment.
If you are not trying to break the bank, there are still plenty of affordable apartments and areas. The most affordable neighborhoods are North Tampa, University Square, Al Lopez Park, Plaza Terrace, and Wellswood. In these areas, you could be paying less than $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
On top of rent, you will also have to consider other expenses like utilities, food, gas, and more.
Tampa's overall cost-of-living index is 96.6 percent, which is 3.4 percent lower than the national average. Expenses like utilities, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services all typically cost less than the national average.
However, not everything is cheaper in Tampa. Transportation and groceries are more expensive, with groceries costing nearly 8 percent more than the national average.
In general, if you choose to live in Tampa, you will need to make about $55,000 a year to live comfortably. The good news is the average salary in Tampa is about $65,000, so you could have some money left over to spend or save.