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Tampa, St. Pete renters would get moderate space in home buying

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  • | 2:30 p.m. August 9, 2023
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Renters in Tampa and St. Petersburg could get a moderate amount of space should they buy a home, according to Point2, a real estate research and news site.

Point2 officials say renters who want "to become homeowners seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to budgeting for homebuying." So the firm looked at how much space renters could afford if they swapped monthly rent for a monthly mortgage, with all the property taxes and homeowners insurance costs included.

The results show that Tampa and St. Petersburg renters would get less space than renters in Jacksonville and Orlando but more space than renters in Miami. The study found that for renters in Tampa, making the switch from rent to monthly mortgage "might mean 991 square feet. St. Petersburg renters would get a little less space if they decided rent money would be better spent on a mortgage: 895 square feet."

In Miami, perhaps the hottest real estate market in Florida, "space is in really short supply. Here, the average rent would secure just 785 square feet." Miami has average rent of $2,400 and also has the highest price per square foot, "which means rent money couldn’t buy that much living space."

Surprisingly, Orlando, another hot market, outperformed both Tampa and St. Pete in space for new home-buyers. Orlando renters would get 1,215 square feet, putting it among the top 10 cities where renters would get the most space, says Point2. (Orlando comes in at No. 9 nationally.)

Jacksonville was named "the Goldilocks city" by the research site, coming in at No. 11.

"Despite having the lowest rent, the city boasts the smallest price per square foot, which means renters here could get the most space if they traded their monthly rent for a monthly mortgage," Point2 says. Renters would get 1,189 square feet.

Leading the nation was Detroit, where renters would get 2,421 square feet if they switched to a mortgage. Not surprisingly, the least affordable cities were in California, with Fremont, California, being the stingiest city on space: "$2,758 worth of rent would only secure 506 square feet of space if renters decided to get a mortgage of precisely that amount."

The study says in a "staggering 63 cities, a mortgage equal to the average rent would secure less than 1,000 square feet." And that was assuming a 20% down payment, the study found. The study comes at a time when inflation and interest rates are making home ownership more expensive.


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