TAMPA, Fla. — Rental prices continue to go up in the Tampa Bay area, making it even more challenging for people to find affordable housing.
Forest Maddox is a realtor in the Riverview area and says most home buyers are looking for something in the suburbs between $250,000 to $350,000.
"It is a very tight market; inventory is super low. They like the neighborhoods, but most people are looking for a little bit of space outside the HOA neighborhoods. It's harder to find, especially in that price range."
According to apartmentlist.com, rent in Tampa is going up. The median rent is now at $1,129 for a one-bedroom and $1,376 for a two-bedroom.
The rent increase here is the 6th highest in the country.
Taking a closer look at housing trends and migration patterns, research from realtor.com shows that people are moving away from the bigger cities with denser populations during this pandemic.
New York, San Francisco, LA, DC, Seattle and Miami have all had renter declines in the last year.
People are moving to more affordable areas like Tampa Bay.
But that means less inventory is available.
Maddox tells me many of his customers can't afford to buy.
"They have to move down here, and they can't find anything to buy right away in the timeline. So they switch over to the rental side to try and get into something," he said.
The good news, statistics show rental prices in Tampa and St. Petersburg are still more affordable compared to other places like Miami.
But with more people moving here, rent will continue to rise as competition for apartments grows.
"My biggest advice is patience, but be ready to jump as soon as you get something. Putting in an offer that's low or trying to lowball something, in this market, it's just not going to happen because things are moving so fast and other people are willing to pay."
Experts say baby boomers who are retiring will also lead to more demand as they downsize to rentals.