Tampa Bay area shines over Atlanta, Nashville in cost of living study.
Tampa, with all its job growth, corporate relocations and national buzz, hasn’t lost one important element, in its low cost of living.
The latest proof: the cost of living in the Tampa metro area in the first quarter of 2018 was nearly 10% lower than the national average, according to data from the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. With a national average index of 100, Tampa’s COLI is 90.1, according to the EDC’s Cost of Living Index. That score edges out Jacksonville, Raleigh, N.C. and Orlando, and is Tampa’s third-lowest score in the last three years.
Tampa is also significantly ahead of Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas — three areas Tampa competes with for corporate headquarters. Atlanta had a 99, Nashville a 99.6 and Dallas’s cost of living in the first quarter was 106.3.
The composite index score is based on individual scores for categories including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services, which are all weighted differently, the report states. Tampa’s lowest score is in housing, where the area posted a 72.7. Its highest scores is in groceries, with a 103.2, and transportation, with a 101.
“When it comes to affordability, the Tampa MSA remains a favorable to place to live compared to competing markets in Florida and across the country,” EDC marketing research analyst Robin DiSalvo says in the report. “Our area continues to have the lowest ranking in housing, which is a big selling point as Tampa companies look to attract talent or outside companies consider relocating to Tampa.”
The Tampa MSA has also been near the top of the list for most affordable locations to live and work in Florida, going back to 2011. Compared to other Florida metro areas in the first quarter of 2018, Tampa had the second lowest cost of living index and the lowest index in housing. Daytona Beach, at 89.2, has the lowest cost of living index in the state.
The Cape Coral-Fort Myers MSA, meanwhile, is No. 7 in Florida, with a 97 overall index. The Sarasota-Bradenton region, with a score of 100.7, is No. 9 in the state, ahead of Miami-Dade County and Fort Lauderdale. The Naples-Marco Island region and Lakeland weren’t included in the analysis.