'Rent burden' worse for minorities in Tampa metro area

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 18:22:07-04

TAMPA, Fla. — An economist from tells ABC Action News if you're paying more than 30% of your income toward rent, it’s too much.

“Because once they pass that 30% threshold, it’s a lot harder for renters to keep up with other obligations utility bills and other things that they need to pay for, and that puts a lot more stress on their budget," Nicole Bachaud.

When households pay more than 30% of their income for rent, it’s called a rent burden. In Tampa, the average rent is almost 34% of household income, and it's rising.

“Tampa is one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. There’s only a handful of other markets that have higher rent burdens, several of those in Florida as well," said Bachaud.

“Nationally over the last year, rents are more than $200 more expensive than they were last August compared to this August. In Tampa, particularly, we’ve seen rents increase over $350 between that time for the typical rental unit. So we have seen a significant increase in those rent prices," she added.

Zillow found rent burdens are not equal among races. With black households in the Tampa market paying almost 38% of income on rent. Hispanic households here are at more than 35%.

“A lot of that has to do with income levels. Black and Latin households have significantly lower incomes than white households in Tampa. And that plays out in their rent burdens," Bachaud.

There are many reasons why rental prices are rising. The influx of people moving to Florida is leading to a lack of available homes and apartments, and many people who were cutting costs last year are back looking for somewhere new to live.

Experts say the key is creating more affordable housing like the Boulevards at West River in West Tampa that just opened last month.