Tampa area’s cost of living remains below national average

October 29, 2020

The MSA scored a cost of living index of 96.6; more than three percent below the national average

TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa metro area scored a cost of living index of 96.6 during the third quarter of 2020 – an increase from the same quarter last year, which was 90.7. The cost of living in Tampa, according to the latest Cost of Living Index (COLI) report, is 3.6 percent lower than the national average index of 100.

Compared to other Florida markets, Tampa and Orlando indicated the highest percentage increase index year-over-year. The reason for the increase is primarily due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.  The downward impact on food demand and export prices began in January and accelerated as countries enacted stay-at-home orders. The temporary closure of restaurants and other businesses created a ripple effect on four of the cost of living indices: grocery items, housing, utilities, and transportation.

Tampa’s lowest index is its housing index at 87.4. Tampa has the second lowest average home price – $278,733 – among competitive markets like Charlotte, Raleigh and Nashville. On the flip side, Tampa’s average monthly apartment rent – $1,336 – ranks in the middle among competitive markets. Overall, Tampa has the third lowest housing index among competitive markets.

“While our index is up this year, it may just be a temporary result of COVID-19. We can analyze any potential long-term impacts when the next COLI is released,” said Robin DiSalvo, market research analyst at the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. “The good news is our cost of living remains below the national average and Tampa continues to attract new residents from other parts of the country. Tampa Bay is among the top markets for net migration according to U.S. Census figures, and several reports indicate Tampa as a top relocation destination for Americans who have moved during COVID.”

The same COVID-19 effects also impacted the indices of competitive markets across the country. Nashville was the only market to score indices below the national average in all six categories during the third quarter.

The Cost of Living Index (COLI) measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services for participating areas. The average for all participating places, both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan, equals 100, and each participant’s index is read as a percentage of the average for all places. The composite index score is based upon individual scores for items including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services, which are all weighted differently.

For more information about the area’s Cost of Living scores, and the latest market data, please visit the Tampa Bay EDC’s Market Intelligence section of its website: https://tampabayedc.com/market-intelligence/

About the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council
The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council is the lead designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace. Established in 2009 as a partnership between the public sector and private corporate investors, the EDC works to develop and sustain a thriving local economy through the attraction, retention and expansion of high-wage jobs and capital investment within targeted industry sectors, including Corporate Headquarters, Financial and Professional Services, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Defense and Security, Distribution and Logistics, and Manufacturing. The EDC exists because of the generous support of more than 100 corporations, Hillsborough County, and the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace.