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Rent in Tampa is getting more expensive faster than anywhere else in Florida, report says

Apartmentlist.com says prices in Tampa have jumped 4 percent, almost double the national rate, over the past year.
Published Oct. 4, 2016

Tampa rents are rising faster than in any other part of Florida, although they are still less than in several cities, including St. Petersburg.

Over the past year, rental prices in Tampa have jumped 4 percent, almost double the national rate and almost four times the Florida rate, according to Apartmentlist.com. As of September, the median price for a two-bedroom Tampa apartment was $1,200, compared with $1,300 in St. Petersburg and $2,360 in Miami, the state's highest.

One expert in multifamily rental housing said he's not surprised by Tampa's rent growth.

"Southeast Florida has traditionally taken that crown, but certainly it feels it might be flattening out there and Tampa and Orlando have been right behind,'' said Darron Kattan, managing director of the Tampa brokerage Franklin Street.

"We think the rent growth will continue,'' Kattan added, "because the demographics and population growth of the (Tampa) area appear to be strong with people moving here every day.''

In a survey by Apartmentlist.com, an online guide to available rentals, Tampa renters gave the city C+ overall for satisfaction. The highest-rated categories were weather (A) and local taxes (A). Renters also were relatively satisfied with local jobs and career opportunities, cost of living and quality of schools (each received a B).

Tampa ranked lower among renters for safety (C+), commute times (C) and access to public transportation (C-).

More than 8,000 apartments are under way or proposed in central Tampa, including the downtown riverfront site of the former Tampa Tribune building where the Miami-based Related Group plans an eight-story, 400-unit project.

"The only reason (apartment construction) might slow down is because lenders are pulling back and becoming a little scared of overbuilding,'' Kattan said. "But when you look at the number of apartments being built, it's not a number that the Tampa Bay market in healthy times couldn't absorb.''

Although South Tampa has "a lot of units coming online'' and some complexes are offering move-in deals, "overall, they will lease up in a normal schedule,'' Kattan said.

Tampa renters were more satisfied than those in Miami (C-) but less satisfied than those in Orlando (B) and Jacksonville (A-). Millennials rated Tampa higher than renters in general, giving the city a B- score overall.

Rents in central St. Petersburg — where more than 1,300 apartments are planned or being built — have risen 2 percent in the past year. The city gets a B+ rating overall from renters, with A's for pet friendliness and state and local taxes; A- for weather; and B for cost of living and affordability.

St. Petersburg renters were less satisfied with local jobs and career opportunities (B-), access to public transit (B-) and safety (C+). The biggest source of dissatisfaction was the quality of local schools (C-).

Nationally, the top-rated cities for renter satisfaction included Arlington, Va.; Lincoln, Neb.; Boston; and Madison, Wis. The lowest-rated cities included Newark, N.J.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Baltimore; and Salinas, Calif.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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