Ever wondered what it’s like living in a city which always makes you feel like you’re on vacation? Well, that’s what’s in store for you if you’re moving to Tampa, Florida. But let’s be realistic here, you can’t just decide on a whim to move someplace. There are a lot of factors to consider. Read on to find out whether moving to Tampa is the right choice for you.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Tampa?
Located right on the shores of Tampa Bay and near the Gulf of Mexico is the city of Tampa. It’s the third-largest city in Florida after Jacksonville and Miami, with a population of 413,704. Spread over 176 square miles, about 3,628 live per square mile in Tampa.
The first thing you’re likely to notice when in Tampa is the vibrant life of the city. After all, it’s a major tourist destination and wherever you turn, you’re sure to come across fancy restaurants, bars and art installations.
Speaking of food, this city is among the best when it comes to the food scene. Food halls are the new in-thing in Tampa, which is popular among both the locals and the tourists. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be thrilled to know that Tampa is home to some of the best chefs out there.
Once the sun sets in Tampa, the city’s vibrant nightlife takes over. Whether you want to dance away your worries in a nightclub or go bar hopping (maybe do both at the same time, we won’t judge!), you can do it. Tampa knows how to party! Just remember to be responsible, you don’t want to get a DUI.
Given its proximity to the beach and sunny days, Tampa is where you want to be if you love being outdoors. The city has many white-sand beaches that’s something of a common trait in the Gulf of Mexico, and that’s the reason why they’re all the more awesome! Apart from this, you can also go canoeing or hiking.
Crime Rate In Tampa
If you’ve been wondering whether it’s safe to live in Tampa, you needn’t worry too much. According to NeighborhoodScout, the crime rate in Tampa is 22 per 1000 residents. While the crime rate here is definitely higher than the cities in Florida, compared to similar cities in the US, the rate is quite low.The chances of one being a victim of a violent crime in Tampa is 1 in 229, while that of a property crime is 1 in 55.
If you love snow and just can’t do without it, then this might be an absolute deal breaker. Tampa has a tropical climate and has about 246 sunny days per year. After all, it’s in the Sunshine State! What about the remaining days, you ask? Well, it rains! To put it short, Tampa has two major seasons – wet and dry. Here’s what they look like.
Around May to October is the wet season in Tampa. It’s also the hottest time of the year in the city, with temperatures averaging between as high as 90° F and lows around 70° F. If you don’t like creepy crawlies, brace yourselves as this is the time when they come out in full force. Thanks to the proximity to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it also gets really humid. If this doesn’t motivate you to stay indoors during the wet season, the rains will do.
There’s a chance of a thunderstorm almost daily during the wet season. If it gets really bad, the roads can be flooded too. Given the frequency of storms and lightning strikes that hit Tampa, it’s also known as Lightning City!
But don’t worry, the dry season of Tampa more than makes up for it. Starting from November and going all the way to early May, the days get sunnier and the weather milder. The average maximum temperature is around a pleasant 70° F and in the colder months, it’s unlikely to go below 38° F. Naturally, this is the time when the city is abuzz with tourists. And of course, this applies to you if you’re moving here too!
Is Tampa Expensive To Live?
This is a major factor to consider when you’re planning on moving to Tampa. No point coming to Lightning City if you have to keep struggling to make ends meet, right? So let’s find out how much you would be spending once you’ve moved here.
Let’s first discuss taxes. Yes, we all hate them, but here’s something to cheer about: Tampa is in Florida, an income tax-free state! If you thought there’s no tax whatsoever, no, that’s unfortunately not the case. After all, the money has to come from somewhere. You’ll be paying two taxes in Tampa – the Florida and the Hillsborough County sales taxes, both of which add up to a tax rate of 8.5%.
Cost Of Living In Tampa
You’d be thrilled to learn that Tampa is among the most affordable big cities in the US. To offer you a broader perspective, PayScale estimates the cost of living here to be 5% lower than that of the US average. While many other parameters such as your job and choice of neighborhood factor into it, this is still a big positive for those planning to move here.
Numbeo estimates that a family of four would spend $3,686.66 on monthly expenses, while a single person’s expenses would be $1,024.86.
When it comes to food and groceries, it’s about the same as the national average. You’d be spending $3.33 on a loaf of bread and $1.94 on a gallon of milk. An egg carton would cost you $1.81 and a bunch of bananas, $3.36.
In case you overindulged in the many excellent restaurants and bars around Tampa and have to visit the doctor, worry not, as healthcare expenses are 2% lower than the US average. A doctor’s visit would set you back by $108.83 and a trip to the dentist, $93.49. Prescription drugs cost about $433.50. If you have pets, you’ll be spending about $49.93 for a vet visit.
Buying A House
The median home price here is $266,843, and Zillow estimates the average cost of a home to be $272,167. The home value in Tampa has increased by 10.9% over the year and is predicted to increase at the same rate. However, housing expenses in Tampa are an incredible 23% lower than the national average.
Renting A House
If you’re planning on renting instead of buying a house in Tampa, you’ll be spending an average of $1,373 for a 928 sq ft apartment, according to RENTCafe. Of course, your choice of neighborhood affects this, for it can go between $1,049 to $1,982. The average rent in Tampa has increased by 2% from the previous year.
When it comes to utility bills, however, you’ll be spending quite a bit as they’re 16% higher than the national average. For instance, your average monthly energy bill will be $194.99 and your phone will cost you $207.85. Speaking of your water bills, you’ll be paying about $65 monthly. With gas costing $2.77 per gallon, transportation expenses are relatively high as well.
Tampa Economy And Employment Opportunities
If you’re looking to move to a city that offers job security along with a growing job market, then Tampa is definitely the place for you. According to BestPlaces, the unemployment rate in the is 3.6%, which is just a bit lower than the national average of 3.7%. The average annual salary in Tampa is $65K, which admittedly isn’t the highest, but the good job market makes up for it.
Tampa Bay has the greatest availability of jobs in all of Florida. Sure, the city may be best known for its cigar and tourism industry, but with the changing times, jobs in sectors including IT and healthcare are rising as well. The growth of the technology industry in Tampa Bay is phenomenal, and quite a few Fortune 500 and 1000 companies have set up bases here.
According to Zippia, the highest paying jobs here are in the healthcare industry, with psychiatrists and physicians earning annual average salaries of $261,420 and $229,420 respectively. The major employers here are the maritime industry, the education sector, and the financial and professional services industries.
Tampa is considered among the best family-friendly cities in the US. The reasons include many fun destinations for the whole family. And for those planning on moving to Tampa, the education system in Tampa is great too!
The people in Tampa value their education, as evidenced by the fact that over 39% have at least a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and it’s better than the US average of 30%. The dropout rate, however, is more or less similar to the national average.
The Hillsborough County Public Schools have its headquarters in Tampa. This school district is considered to be among the best in Florida, with seven of them named in the list of 10 best high schools in the Metro Tampa area. Some of the best rated public schools include Bryant Elementary, Gorrie Elementary, Coleman Middle, Horizon Charter School and Brooks Debartolo Collegiate High School.
For your kids’ higher education, there’s the University of South Florida. The average cost of tuition is about $23,446 without aid. The other colleges and universities are private, and hence, more expensive.
Getting Around Tampa
With the high population and being a tourist hotspot, you can be assured that traffic in Tampa is bad. While it’s better than in Miami, it’s still so bad that it’s among the 25 most-congested cities in the US. So when you’re moving here, you’ll need to find a house close to your place of work to cut down on the commute.
Despite being such a car-unfriendly city, you’re better off having one when living in Tampa. Those who work in Downtown Tampa needn’t worry too much about parking, as there are over 24,000 parking spaces, including garages and on-road parking spots.
And if your commute involves getting around Florida, it’s recommended that you get a SunPass. It’s a prepaid toll account which would help reduce your commute time considerably.
In an attempt to reduce traffic, the city government has provided many public transportation services. Here are a few ways of getting around Tampa if you don’t have a car.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART)
With a fleet of nearly 200 buses and covering an area of almost 1,000 sq miles, HART is among the most prominent public transportation services in Tampa and Hillsborough County. There are 26 local routes that service and 7 express bus routes that are operated by HART.
In addition to this, for those who have to commute between Downtown Tampa and the University Area, there’s a special service named MetroRapid. These buses are sleeker, have limited stops with traffic signal priority, and with modern passenger stations with bicycle racks.
HART buses run from about 4 am until midnight on weekdays, and between 6 am to 10 pm on the weekends. One-way fares start from $2.00, with express and premium passes available too.
Those who would like to commute in a bit more comfort can book a HARTFlex van. Currently operating in five areas – Brandon, South County, Northdale, Town ‘N Country, and South Tampa – HARTFlex offers door-to-door services. You’ll get a guaranteed seat (standees aren’t allowed in a HARTFlex van), but you have to make your reservations at least two hours in advance. You’ll be charged $1.00 for commuting one way.
TECO Line Streetcar
Also operated by HART, the 2.7-mile long TECO Line Streetcar connects Downtown and Channelside to Ybor City. This mode of transport is more inclined towards tourists and the replica streetcars are sure to give you a touch of nostalgia. The TECO Streetcars run every 30 minutes and a one-way trip would cost you nothing. It’s FREE!
Possibly the most intriguing transportation service in Downtown Tampa is the Downtowner. All you have to do is book a ride on the Downtowner app and get going. The cars are electric and the rides are free too!
With all the waters around Tampa, not getting around the city on a boat feels just…wrong. So hop aboard a Pirate Taxi, which has a fleet of five pirate-themed boats and explore the waterways of Tampa. Traveling on a Pirate Taxi after 6 pm means you’ll get to enjoy a glorious sunset, and at a discounted price too. An all-day pass can be bought for $20, and the boats run from Wednesdays to Sundays.
You’ll probably be unable to flag down a cab, as most of them are queued near airports and upscale hotels. The major taxi companies here are the Yellow Cab of Tampa and the United Cab. The base fares for both are $2.50 and an additional $0.30 for every 1/8th of a mile covered. In addition to these, you can also book cabs from Uber or Lyft.
Once deemed a city too dangerous for bicyclists, Tampa has now transformed into a more bike-friendly city. You can rent a bike from Coast Bikes from around Tampa, and there are multiple places where you can drop them off. It’ll only cost you $1 to unlock a Coast Bike and the rates are $0.15 per minute. If you’re a regular biker, get a monthly pass!
Best Neighborhoods in Tampa
1. West Tampa
One of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, West Tampa is located to the west of the Hillsborough River. It was founded in the 1890s as a cigar manufacturing center. It’s now a historic district, and with a significant Latino population, you can enjoy the delicious Latin American cuisine in the many restaurants here. Also, if your job involves a lot of flying, the airport is in close proximity too. The average price of a home in West Tampa is $281,586 and if you’re renting a two-bedroom apartment, it’ll cost you about $1,368.
2. Riverside Heights
Located to the east of the Hillsborough River is the neighborhood named Riverside Heights. The area has three parks, a playground and good public schools, so it’s definitely suitable for young families. In addition to this, the many restaurants and bars in Riverside Park make it all the more appealing. You can get a home here for about $346,460, and the average rent is roundabout $1,872.
3. Davis Islands
If you want to live on an island that’s opulent and very pet-friendly, then look no further than the Davis Islands. You’re looking at a neighborhood that has over 11 miles of scenic waterfront real estate. If that’s not enough to seal the deal, you also get a dog-friendly beach and a yacht club in Davis Islands. It’s also close to Downtown Tampa, so you won’t even have to miss out on all the excitement in the mainland. The average price of a house in the Davis Islands is about $852,872. If you’re renting a house here, it’ll be about $1,926.
Is Moving to Tampa A Good Idea?
The feeling of living in a tourist destination can be thrilling, and that’s what you’ll get when living in Tampa, Florida. Considering the low cost of living and relatively low rate of crime, you’re getting a great deal. Also, moving to the Sunshine State means it’ll be sunny all the time (well, almost) and you’ll never lack for things to do in Tampa. Sure, you may be stuck in traffic, but you can use that time to listen to your favorite podcast!
See Also: 5 Best Moving Companies In Tampa
FAQs about Moving to Tampa
Is Tampa booming?
Tampa is booming! With an 8% below the national average cost of living and 6,000 new residents added each year to Tampa’s population – it seems like they have what it takes.
Should I move to Tampa or Atlanta?
Tampa is an excellent choice for people who want an affordable city with beautiful weather. Atlanta is a perfect choice for entrepreneurs and people who work in the creative industries. They both have lovely communities, but you’re more likely to get what you’re looking for, depending on which one you choose.
Is it cheaper to live in Tampa or Miami?
The cost of living is 15.4% lower than that of Miami, so if you’re earning $50751 as a salary, then your standard of living will be maintained with what’s available here instead of on the other side (Miami).
Is Tampa hotter than Miami?
The average temperature of Tampa is 75.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average summertime high in Miami Beach is 83.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that Miami is hotter than Tampa on average per year, but both cities experience hot summers, so it all depends on your personal preference.
How much is the average electric bill in Tampa, Florida?
No surprise, it’s expensive! The utility company has requested to raise rates for customers by an average of $7.56 per month or 8 percent, which comes out a total of about 100 dollars extra on your monthly payment from this change alone and may not seem like that big deal, but when you take into account all factors such as price increases over time–it starts getting steep quickly.
Is Tampa safer than Miami?
Tampa doesn’t have the violent crime rates of Miami. Tampa’s crime rates are one-tenth of Miami’s and less than half that of Fort Lauderdale.
Is Tampa good for singles?
Yes, very good. Life’s a beach in Tampa Bay. Colorful urban living, barrier islands to explore, and a calendar filled with festivals – all make for a great singles’ playground. But there’s lots more going on in this Florida city, from the world-famous Busch Gardens theme park to lesser-known gems like the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. Suppose you’re single or don’t feel like sharing your bed with anyone else right now. In that case, there are tons of bars to hit up as well as entertainment – including award-winning ballet performances at Tampa Theatre and colorful Creole cuisine at Restaurant Beignet food truck spot!
What is Tampa known for?
Tampa is known for its tourist attractions, especially Busch Gardens, where families can enjoy the thrill of an amusement park and fun zoo all in one place.
Is Tampa or Jacksonville better?
Tampa has a more beachy and touristy vibe, while Jacksonville is more laid-back. All in all, whichever city you go to first will be the better one for your needs as they each have their pros/cons depending on what exactly those may entail!
Is it better to live in Tampa or Clearwater?
Clearwater is a beautiful, small town with great amenities and prices that are still reasonable. It’s easy living in Clearwater because it has everything you need without having to go too far out into a big city like Tampa!
Is it better to live in Tampa or Orlando?
Tampa or Orlando, both cities, has their unique benefits. Tampa has lower home prices and higher average income than its southern neighbor to the south.
We’re sure that reading this has strengthened your resolve to move to Tampa. So why not check out our website to learn more about the moving companies here and get quotes?
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