Cost of Living in Tampa, FL 2021
Tampa is known as the economic center of western Florida, with its booming tourist attractions and professional sports teams competing in three major leagues. This region is also home to picturesque Gulf Coast beaches with nearly 250 days of sunshine annually. There are countless indoor and outdoor activities for families of all ages, making Tampa a wonderful place to call home.
Historically, Tampa’s roots trace back to the 19th century, with the establishment of Fort Brooke following the US possession of Florida from Spain. Shortly after, Tampa became incorporated in 1855. While the town’s growth was initially slow, by the 20th century, Tampa would be known as a modern trade, financial, and commercial hub.
So, if you're thinking about making a move to Tampa, you’ll want to get a better idea of the anticipated costs. Keep reading for a closer look at the cost of living in Tampa and to understand better how much you'll need to live there comfortably.
Tampa Housing Costs
While many cities nationwide experienced significant drops in rent prices due to the pandemic, rent prices are on the rise once again. Tampa is right on par with the current rental trends of national averages, with a steady 14-month increase. According to our average rent prices on Apartment List, the average rent is $1,887 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,364 for a two-bedroom.
Many major cities across the nation saw rent drops again in the latter portion of 2020, with rates rising again at the start of the new year. Tampa, however, has seen consistent rises in rent prices since May of 2020. The city's year-over-year rent growth sits significantly above the state average of 18.6% and the national average of 10.3%.
Tampa isn’t the only popular Florida city that is seeing spikes in its rent prices. Port St. Lucie’s median rent index is $1,411 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,863 for a two-bedroom, with a 32.3% year-over-year increase. Another popular Florida city falling not far behind Tampa and Port St. Jacksonville's median rent index is $1,222 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,341 for a two-bedroom, with a 19.7% year over year increase.
The Tampa housing market has also seen steady growth, with median home prices at $313,136, a 19.7% year-over-year increase. These prices are significantly higher than other competing areas like Port St. Lucie, with a median price index of $294,143, a 19.4% increase, or Jacksonville at $236,614, a 16.7% year-over-year increase.
There are plenty of public transportation options readily available in Tampa, as provided by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART). The TECO Line Streetcar connects Channelside Bay Plaza to the historic Ybor City with multiple stops throughout the downtown and convention center core. Other services provided by HART include:
- Local Fixed Route and Express Bus Service
- MetroRapid North-South
- HARTFlex service in South County
- HARTPlus Paratransit Service
One-way fares through HART range from free (on the TECO Line Streetcar) to $3.00, depending on your service. Alternative payment options are available, including 1-day unlimited, 31-day unlimited, 10-pack 1-day unlimited, 3-day unlimited, and monthly passports.
Otherwise, for those who prefer to get around with their vehicle, you can spend about $5,113 for transportation in Tampa over a year as a single adult without children. A family of four, including two working adults and two children, will pay $13,896 for transportation in one year. Thankfully, gasoline prices are around $2.57 per gallon, much lower than the national average of $3.16.
Tampa Food Costs
Tampa is a cultural mixing pot for cuisine, blending influences from across the world, including Cuba, Spain, Italy, Southern United States, Mexico, and Asia. Some good eats you have to try out when living in Tampa include the Tuscan Frittata from Pinky’s Diner, some great seafood from Oystercatchers, and the Blackened Grouper Reuben sandwich from the Skipper’s Smokehouse.
With an average of $15.00 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurany, you can check out some good eats relatively cheaply. If you're looking for a higher-scale meal, like a three-course dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant, you can expect to pay around $55.00 without alcohol or dessert.
In Tampa, single adults without children can expect to spend at least $3,177 on food per year. However, if you're a family of four with two working adults and two children, you can expect to pay $9,305 per year for food.
You can anticipate costs similar or slightly below the national average for food items purchased from the local Whole Foods Market, Publix, or Sprouts Farmers Market. For example, one gallon of regular milk will run you $3.65 in the grocery store, with the national average being $3.69.
Tampa Healthcare Costs
Regardless of where you are living, one of your top priorities should always be maintaining your health. When looking into the cost of living in a particular area, you'll want to find out how much proper healthcare will run you to ensure you are staying healthy in your new hometown.
Whether you are the type of person who prefers to visit your doctor minimally or you have a medical condition that requires you to see them more regularly, having medical insurance in Tampa will help keep your costs more manageable. Additionally, health insurance is good because it can help you afford the care you need should any unfortunate emergencies arise.
You will want to account for proper medical care when planning your budget in Tampa, as healthcare should always be considered an essential cost. A single adult without children will pay around $2,792 for medical care over the year. Two working adults with two children will pay $9,249.
The climate in Tampa hardly varies throughout the year. The area is known for being hot and humid throughout the majority of the year. Winters from December through February are mild, while summers, June through September, are hot and rainy. The coldest month in Tampa is in January, with an average overnight low of 52.4°. The hottest month of summer is August, where the average daytime high is typically 90.0°.
Although the winters are mild, the summers can be unbearable with the combination of heat and humidity. As such, you’ll have to account for the necessity of air conditioning, especially during summer. Tampa's essential utilities include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, running $168.98 for a 915-sq. ft. apartment. Adding on the Internet with 60 Mbps or more with unlimited data, cable/ADSL will cost you an extra $64.77 for a total of $233.75 each month.
Since your utility costs can add up quickly over time, it's in your best interest to get a good idea of how much utilities will cost in an apartment before making your move. Budget accordingly for this commonly overlooked expense by having the correct information.
Tampa Fitness and Entertainment
There are countless fitness and entertainment opportunities throughout the city of Tampa, and with so much year-round sun, it is easy to get outdoors. But, even for the most active, summers can be brutal, which is why you will likely want to look into joining a local gym for workouts. Thankfully, these costs are relatively low, with a fitness club membership fee for one adult costing $29.28 monthly.
If you're looking for some entertainment, you can purchase a seat at the local cinema for $12.15 without snacks or drinks. Otherwise, sports fans can check out an NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, an NHL Tampa Bay Lightning game, or an MLB Tampa Bay Rays game. As a bonus, six other MLB teams hold spring training in Tampa as well.
Tampa also has tons of other, more affordable entertainment options. You can visit museums, including some of the most popular, like the Tampa Museum of Art, the Glazer Children’s Museum, or the Museum of Science and Industry. The city also has several parks to enjoy for those who prefer to stay outdoors, including Lettuce Lake Park, Ballast Point Park, and Anderson Park.
Other Expenses to Consider in Tampa
If the year-round sunshine isn’t enough to entice you, the low taxes might just do the trick. So many people find living in Florida appealing because it has no state income tax, though there are some other minimal taxes Floridians are expected to pay. Specifically, the sales tax rate in Tampa combines the Florida state sales tax rate of 6% with the Hillsborough County sales tax rate of 1.5% for a total rate of 7.5%.
Make sure to pay attention to additional costs that can also add up, especially for anyone looking to move out of state to Tampa. These extra expenses include transportation, hotels, storage, and cross-country movers.
Big moves like this may also require more fees, like pet deposits, security deposits, apartment application fees, and other add-ons. Don’t forget about furnishing your new apartment either, which is yet another overlooked expense to consider. If you're concerned about budgeting, you can learn tips on how to decorate your apartment on a budget! Know that these costs are a possibility so that you can prepare and adjust your budget as needed.
Recommended Salary in Tampa
If you know what type of lifestyle you plan to lead in Tampa, you can begin figuring out your recommended salary. The living wage in Tampa is $15.08 per hour, which is the basic wage required to pay for essentials such as housing, food, and necessities. This wage, in particular, is based on a very frugal lifestyle and does not account for any extra costs like dining out or catching any live sports games.
You can also look at the average salary index in Tampa, which is $66,000 per year, roughly $17.92 per hour. The living wage, average salary, and recommended salary are three very different things, though.
For your best-recommended salary in Tampa, consider following the 30% rule for rent, which claims that you should not be spending more than one-third, or 30%, of your gross income on rent to live comfortably. For example, if your rent is close to the median for a one-bedroom apartment in Tampa and costs $1,324, your monthly wages should be at least $3,972 per month or $47,664 annually.
While the recommended salary might sound easily attainable to you, it is recommended for those looking to lead a very basic lifestyle, much like the living wage. You'll more than likely need to pursue a higher salary, a less expensive apartment, or both to enjoy the city to its fullest.
Thankfully, the typical annual salaries for common professions in Tampa are highly competitive. The three highest typical annual salaries belong to Management, Computer and Mathematical, and Architecture and Engineering, respectively.
Job Market in Tampa
Tampa has a slightly less healthy job market compared to similar-sized metro areas. Today, the city's largest employers include MacDill Air Force Base and Publix Super Markets. Other notable employers are educational institutions like the University of South Florida and healthcare organizations like BayCare Health System.
The unemployment rate in Tampa is 7.2%, 0.9% below the current national average. Unfortunately, this rate took a significant hit as a direct result of the pandemic. Thankfully, Tampa sees a steady recovery as businesses become open once again.
Tampa might be the place for you if you're looking to move to a vibrant city filled with countless indoor and outdoor activities, including a wide range of professional sports teams. If you are interested in moving to Florida and Tampa, now might be a good time to start your research. First, find out more information about the cost of living in Florida.