Report: A Tampa renter has to make nearly $85,000 to avoid being rent burdened

A May 2022 report says the average wage in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is $57,500.

It’s no secret that it’s hard to make rent in Tampa, but a new rental index has the numbers to back it up.

Using data from April, Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business created an interactive rental index that ranks the “most overvalued rental markets from among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.”

The index found that a Tampa renter that makes $84,750.12 a year is actually rent burdened. Someone who makes $50,850.07 is classified as severely rent burdened.

According to FAU, anyone who spends at least 30% of their income is rent burdened. Someone who spends at least 50% of their income is severely rent-burdened. Anyone who is rent burdened has to make cuts in spending on food and medication to make ends meet.

“Not a lot of people make that kind of money,” Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D., an economist in FAU’s College of Business said in a blog post.

A May 2022 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report says that the average wage in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is $57,500.

With an average rent of $2,118.75, Tampa is the 18th most expensive metro in the FAU index, which uses past leasing data from Zillow's Observed Rent Index (ZORI). Using historical data, the index added that rent in Tampa should be at $1,971.55, meaning renters here pay a 7.47% premium.

Johnson said that the data perfectly illustrates the notion that there is an ongoing affordability crisis. “Rents aren’t coming down significantly, if at all, so until incomes increase sharply, consumers in much of the country will continue to do without basic needs,” he added.

The only bright spot of the report for Tampeños is that they don’t live in one of the 10 metros that are even more overvalued. In Cape Coral, where renters pay the highest premiums, someone must make $92,904.84 to avoid being rent burdened. Miami is the second most overvalued metro and requires renters to make $112,183.84 to avoid being rent burdened.

By contrast, in Wichita—where renters only pay a 6.6% premium—average rent is just $998.97, and renters only have to make $39,958.99 to avoid being rent burdened.

But sorry, Toto, this definitely isn't Kansas.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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