Rents are spiking across Florida and there are no signs of it slowing down, according to new research from Florida economists.
The Tampa Bay, Fort Myers and Orlando metropolitan areas are seeing rents rise faster than the historical average, according to a study by economists at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Atlantic University and Longwood University released Wednesday.
“Things are probably going to get worse before they get better,” said Shelton Weeks, director of the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
Rentals in Tampa Bay are going for 16.3 percent above their historical pricing trend, the study found. Supply shortages last year caused average rent prices in the region to increase by 28 percent. Fort Myers’ units were going off the market at a 14.9 percent premium and Orlando at 10.8 percent.
And there’s not enough new projects to meet the demand of the population growth, Weeks said.
Tampa Bay’s biggest cities have discussed rent control but haven’t advanced any measures to limit how much landlords raise rents. Tampa City Council members agree it’s a “crisis” and directed city staff to search for solutions through May. Tampa didn’t advance a motion to declare a housing emergency and St. Petersburg officials warned against the idea. Now housing advocates plan to set up a weeklong “tent city” protest in front of St. Petersburg City Hall to demand rent control.
The rapid rise is concerning because rents are typically more stable than home sale prices, said Bennie Waller, a visiting professor at Florida Gulf Coast University from Longwood University. The rising rents make housing affordability more difficult, a problem that is not exclusive to Central Florida.
The Tampa Bay area is one of the most overvalued housing markets in Florida, said Florida Atlantic University economist Ken H. Johnson. He publishes similar research each month which tracks the acceleration of home sales across the U.S. As of January, homes in Tampa Bay were selling at 43 percent above the expected price, or the historical pricing trend.