Millennials want to know: What does it really cost to live in Tampa?

Third in a series.

In addition to Tampa’s close proximity to the water and amazing year-round weather, the cost of living here remains relatively cheaper versus larger cities up north and on the west coast -- there still is no state income tax, and property taxes and rental costs are lower. 

While Tampa’s housing market is on fire right now, with interest rates at around 3%, and many buyers finding themselves in a bidding war to purchase property, individuals looking to invest in a house for long-term profitability can often do so while saving money immediately by buying instead of renting.

World Population Review found that as of 2021, the average household income in Tampa is $87,818 with the median house value at $238,900 and rental costs coming to $1,131. 

Using data from the U.S. Census and other sources, neighborhoods in Tampa were ranked by Niche as to which are the best for young professionals in 2021. The data is based on the number of current millennial residents, job opportunities, and access to bars, restaurants, and affordable housing. 

The top 10 ranked Tampa neighborhoods, according to Niche, are Uptown, Channel District, Courier City/Oscawana, Spanishtown, Carver City/Lincoln Gardens, Harbour Island, Downtown Tampa, Historic Hyde Park, Historic Ybor, and Palma Ceia Pines.
Median home values in top neighborhoods

Uptown: $302,800
Channel District: $436,087
Courier City/Oscawana: $296,752
Spanishtown: $499,784
Carver City/Lincoln Gardens: $158,948
Harbour Island: $368,347
Downtown Tampa: $353,124
Historic Hyde Park: $497,014
Historic Ybor: $165,500
Palma Ceia Pines: $302,885
The price of housing is just the first thing you look at when choosing to relocate.

There are many other expenses that need to be added into the mix like the price of child and pet care, price of utilities and health services, going out to eat and groceries, etc. It’s important to compare and contrast average prices in areas to factor those expenses into your budget when it comes to homebuying. 

Breaking it down … 

With over 400 daycare options from centers to home-based programs in Tampa, the average cost of full-time daycare comes out to be $1,144 per month. This is based on CareLuLu’s data.

Payscale compares several expenses in different cities to the national average so when looking to relocate, you can see how your cost of living will most likely be broken down. An overall view shows that Tampa’s cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. 

Housing expenses are 23% lower than the national average, however, utility prices are on average 16% higher. Transportation, such as bus fares and gas prices come out to be 6% above the national average. For the median home price, you’re looking to be spending on average an additional $195 a month for your energy bill, $208 for your phone bill, and $2.77 per gallon of gas on top of your mortgage. 

Overall, healthcare in Tampa is 2% lower than the national average, with doctors’ visits averaging at $109, dentist visits at $93, optometrist visit $102, RX drug $434, and veterinary visits at $50. Grocery prices in the area are about the same as the national average. 

Whether you’re looking for a bungalow, townhome, apartment, or house in Tampa’s outer suburbs, you need to consider these expenses on top of your home payments. 

In the past, the surrounding neighborhoods to the downtown district were mostly high-end, pricey neighborhoods, which may not have been affordable to young professionals in the early stages of their careers. In looking at the city now, that’s no longer the case as more housing options have been popping up over the years.

“I believe that having diverse residential opportunities for housing in downtown has created a more affordable opportunity for people to live, work, and play here,” says Lynda Remund, President and CEO of Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Taking the long view ...

The focus is on growth in the long run. With the city quickly expanding, it’s been opening a lot of doors for young professionals to step up in their careers. The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council shared that in 2018, for the first time ever, Tampa was named one of the nation’s top 10 markets for real estate investors as reported in an annual survey led by PwC and the Urban Land Institute. Many billion-dollar projects are in the works at this time by both private developers and local public entities with similar goals to enhance the residential living experience. 

In addition to opportunities for individual neighborhoods and properties to grow, the city has ports, which, in the United States, have proven to grow at a faster rate than inland cities. 

You have to look at what the cost of living is now and then look further down the line. Will moving to Tampa set you up to get a higher paying job? Will investing in a property in the Tampa Bay Area pay off in the long run as the housing market continues to rise?  

“Nashville, that’s growing massively, so is Charlotte, North Carolina, however, I think those booms will last just five to six, seven years,” Tampa millennial Amr Khader says. “I really think it’s just the beginning, I don’t even think they’ve scratched the surface of what’s going to happen in Tampa.” 

Related stories in the series:

Why millennials are moving to Tampa

Millennials say they love Tampa lifestyle
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Read more articles by Lauren Wong.

Lauren Wong is a graduate of the University of Tampa with a degree in journalism who is freelancing while she looks for a full-time job. Originally from the Chicago area, she enjoys travel and aspires to be a travel photojournalist. During the summer of 2019, she worked for Premier Travel Media in Chicago and as a correspondent for Input Fort Wayne, another Issue Media group online magazine based in Indiana. She loves spending time outdoors camping, kayaking, and taking pictures.