Rent is higher than the average mortgage in Tampa Bay, experts say

Rent in the Tampa Bay area increased by 20% compared to last year, putting the region in the top five metros for having the highest rent increases in the country, according to data analyzed by Dr. Lei Wedge, an associate professor of finance from the University of South Florida specializing in real estate.

"Every day, a thousand people are moving to Florida, and out of that, about 115 move to Tampa every day," said Dr. Wedge.  "You have all these people moving from New York City, moving from DC, moving from Connecticut, moving from Chicago, they’re from expensive areas, even from California, to them, Florida prices are cheap." 

Whether they’re home buyers or renters, they’re moving here with a lot of money to spend, which is jacking up prices.

"I can say that I’ve had more Californian clients just in the eight months of this year than I’ve had in the previous 18 years," said Jason Pithers, a broker associate for Coldwell Banker Realtors.

MORE: Tampa Bay area rent increase outpaces rest of U.S.

He says there is also high demand for single-family home rentals.

"We’re getting a lot of families moving here, and there’s really very few quality single-family homes for rent, I have several clients right now who have been looking for a while for something really high-quality and there’s nothing out there, people are just selling their properties rather than being a continued landlord," Pithers said.

Experts say the price of rent is driven by the market, so a landlord or leasing company can charge whatever they want to. Realtors anticipate the market to level out by next spring, but that doesn’t mean prices will decrease.