Tampa Mayor Says for Every Available Apartment, 20 People Looking to Rent

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor addressed the city’s housing crisis during a State of the City speech on Wednesday, May 11, citing “out-of-town investors” as a factor in rising home costs.

Castor said that for every available apartment, there were more than 20 people willing to rent.

“People who want to buy homes are facing the smallest inventory in decades and cutthroat competition with other buyers,” Castor said, “including deep-pocketed, out-of-town investors who are driving up home prices well beyond what is affordable.”

Tampa home values increased over 33 percent in the last year, according to data provided by Zillow.

Rental prices in the city grew by a 28 percent average between 2020 and 2021, according to a study published by researchers at Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Atlantic University, and Longwood University in March 2022. Credit: City of Tampa via Storyful

Video transcript

JANE CASTOR: Now, we all know that housing must be resilient as well. Tampa's extraordinary growth and popularity have given us an unfortunate byproduct, rising housing prices and a severe lack of affordable housing. Nothing more is important to me than alleviating this housing crunch right now. We cannot let those who have called Tampa home for generations be priced out.

We also have to be realistic about our housing market. The only way to make housing affordable for people at all income levels is to build more housing that remains affordable. It's why I've opposed moratoriums and why we are engaging the community as we look to where and how to build the housing that our city needs for the future.

As long as Tampa has a great quality of life, people are going to flock here. For every available apartment, there are 20 people that are looking to rent. People who want to buy homes are facing the smallest inventory in decades and cutthroat competition with other buyers, including deep-pocketed, out-of-town investors who are driving up home prices well beyond what is affordable. My son is struggling to find a house that he can afford in a city that he was raised in.

We are addressing this crisis from every possible angle, public-private initiatives like West River and the Rome Yard projects, our infill program, land use and zoning changes, transit-oriented development, and everything in between. In 2019, I pledged that Tampa would create 10,000 affordable housing units by 2027. And between completed, planned, and under-construction units, we're already over the halfway mark. Our financial assistance efforts, including rental and mortgage assistance and eviction protections, have helped nearly 5,000 people stay in their homes.

In the last two fiscal years we have appropriated over $100 million in housing related funding, including $16 million in American Rescue money, and for the first time ever, $6.5 million from our own general fund. Tampa city council recently passed the Tenants Bill of Rights, and I signed it because tenants should be able to live wherever they want, regardless of their income source. We can also make housing more affordable by investing in workforce for better paying jobs and transportation solutions that reduce the need for us to depend on a car.

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