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Study: Tampa Bay, Sarasota rank high on rent

California leads the nation in median rents, but Florida is not too far behind.

  • By Jim Stinson
  • | 7:00 a.m. November 23, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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Tampa Bay has the 19th highest median rent for large metropolitan areas in the nation and is one of four large Florida metros in the top 25, according to a recent study by Construction Coverage.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area has median rent of $2,091, with a median price of $1,566 for a studio, $1,689 for one-bedroom units and $2,001 for two bedrooms.

The other major Florida metro areas on the list are Miami, No. 8; Orlando, No. 15; and Jacksonville, No. 24.

But when pulling back and measuring all metropolitan areas together, Florida does better in affordability rankings. Miami ranked at No. 20 when all metropolitan areas — large, medium and small — were measured. Rent in Miami is a median of $2,450, with studios at $1,753, one-bedrooms at $1,963 and two-bedrooms at $2,412.

Miami is the only Florida city in the top 25 when all metro areas are measured.

Overall, as states were measured, Florida ranked at No. 9, with a median rent of $2,051, with $1,472 for a studio, $1,608 for a one-bedroom and $1,933 for a two-bedroom apartment. California has the highest median rents, followed by Hawaii and Massachusetts.

The study found the Gulf Coast, from Naples to Bradenton, is seeing high median rents.

When measuring midsize metros, four Florida cities made the top 25 of expensive places to rent, and three of them are on this region: North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton came in at No. 8, the highest ranking for the Sunshine State's medium-sized metros. Naples, meanwhile is is No. 11, while Cape Coral-Fort Myers is No. 14. 

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton's metro area has a median ret of $2,132, with $1,339 for a studio, $1,636 for a one-bedroom and $1,976 for a two-bedroom. Naples' metro area has a median rent of $2,044, with $1,425 for a studio, $1,602 for a one-bedroom and $1,912 for a two-bedroom.

When all U.S. metros are ranked together, the entire top 10 of expensive metro areas for median rent are in California, with many in the north, in Silicon Valley, where companies including Meta (Facebook), Alphabet (Google) and Apple are based.

So where is the most expensive place to rent in the United States? A hint: It's south of Silicon Valley, but close enough to make the commute to Google and Apple manageable. 

Leading the nation was Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California. There, the median rent is $4,134. A studio costs $2,967, a one-bedroom costs $3,213, and a two-bedroom costs $4,222.

Median rent for the U.S. overall is $1,782. For one-bedroom units, it is $1,423. For two-bedroom units, it is $1,716.



Jim Stinson

Jim Stinson is the Business Observer's Tampa Bay business reporter and editor, having previously written about business and policy in Washington, D.C.; Rochester, New York; Gary, Indiana; and Daytona Beach. He attended Boston University for business and Indiana University for journalism.

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