The apartment market is in Tampa is booming. But people are still having a tough time finding a place to live. To make matters worse, now there’s new competition making your search harder and rent higher.
If you take a drive down to Channelside, you'll see apartments everywhere and even new projects under construction. All signs of progress and growth. But for people looking to rent in Tampa, believe it or not, it's tough.
“It’s really difficult. It’s very expensive in this area” said Alicia Mongiovi.
Alicia Mongiovi spent months looking for a place to live in South Tampa and now she can barely afford it after recently losing her job. “I drained my savings getting into this place and then you don’t plan for it, and then how are you supposed to keep up with every month.”
It means she may have to move again. But when it comes to finding a place to rent, she’s facing new competition from investors.
“We have a tremendous investor pool that’s buying up basically anything that can cash flow,” said realtor Jason Maniecki. He says investors who typically buy foreclosures are now buying apartments and new homes from builders to rent. For the average person, it means you’ll be paying more for rent and you’re competing with these investors to find a place to live.
“As soon as we put it up we have 20 showings in a day. If it’s the right location, the saturation is probably 99%,” said Maniecki.
More affordable options can be found in North Tampa, or places just outside the heart of the city. That’s what Michele Dupree did buying a home in North Hyde Park. “You have the same great school districts and the house is about $150,000 less, and I can still walk to all the amenities downtown,” said Dupree.
So if you’re looking to rent, Maniecki’s best advice is to do your research, look online at least two months in advance and if you find something you like, don't wait because odds are it won't be there. “The ones that wait usually end up losing out on a place because there are just not many options out there,” he said.
These rental challenges are nothing new. Rental prices across the Bay Area have been on the rise for a while.
According to real estate firm Zillow, the median rental price in Hillsborough County has shot up more than $400 a month in the last four and half years, going from $895 in January of 2010 to $1350 this past July. There’s a bit different story in Pinellas County where the median rental price is now $50 less than it was in 2010.
To get a better idea of how much homes cost in Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater, click here.