- May 17, 2019
The Tampa metro area, at least in one metric, proves you really can have your cake and eat it too.
Here's how: Despite a rising quality of life that includes a vibrant food and craft beer scene, as well as entrepreneurial buzz surrounding the tech sector, the Tampa region continues to boast the lowest housing costs among competing markets in Florida and other major metro areas.
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., in analyzing the latest cost of living index (COLI) data, reports that Tampa's 2017 housing index was 77.0. That's 23 percentage points below the national average. The metro area's overall composite COLI — which tracks the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services — is 94.8. That's 5% lower than the national average.
When compared with other competitive markets nationwide — including Phoenix; Charlotte, N.C.; Austin; and Denver — the only Florida metro area that can match Tampa's low COLI is Jacksonville, which also scored a 94.8. Limiting the COLI scope to Florida, Daytona Beach boasts the overall lowest composite score, with 92.3, but its housing costs are higher than Tampa.