What is the future of Tampa’s rental housing?
The future of Florida’s rental-housing market is still a mystery, but some are already predicting a major shift.
In particular, many condo developers and real estate brokers have been predicting a wave of apartments in the Tampa Bay area and the rest of the state in coming years.
As it turns out, that’s a big mistake.
For starters, the housing market is going to get more crowded.
In the past few years, Florida’s population has doubled, from just under 5 million people to about 7.5 million people.
But the number of rental apartments has been growing at a slower pace, which has contributed to a much more crowded market.
The number of condo units in Tampa has more than doubled since 2010, while the number in the rest a few counties has remained fairly flat.
The Tampa Bay region has been seeing more than 20,000 condo units each month since 2010.
And just this past month, the number jumped to over 20,500 condos, according to the Tampa Downtown Development Authority.
It’s expected that the number will rise again in 2018.
And the number could rise even more, if some of the apartment developers who built the new apartment projects can’t recoup their investment.
Some condo developers have been selling their apartments at a loss.
In June, the Tampa International Airport Authority said that developers who had sold their units to a private investor had lost about $300,000.
And that loss could be even bigger.
Tampa’s real estate industry is still in its infancy.
It took more than two decades for the market to catch up to the rest the state.
In order to attract the new condo buyers, developers are having to find a way to make up for the lost revenue.
But there’s also a cost to this new approach: It makes condo owners and developers feel like they’re making a huge investment.
“The rental market is an investment, but it’s not a return,” said Scott Smith, an attorney and owner of Smith Associates, an apartment real estate firm in Tampa.
“It’s a return that doesn’t pay off.”
And it’s an investment that could hurt condo owners if they lose money, because it doesn’t help the rest on the rental market.
“When developers have to take a loss, they’re not really creating jobs,” said David Zilberman, an economist at the University of Southern Florida.
“They’re not creating the demand that the market needs.”
But some of those condo owners aren’t even renting in the first place.
They’re just renting them out for cash, and they’re doing it out of desperation.
“I don’t even know if I would consider renting if I had money to spend,” said Jessica Ellinger, who lives in a Tampa condo she’s leasing for $1,700 a month.
“I’m saving it to spend it on a yacht or on a new car.”
And with the rental-assistance program, Ellingner and her husband are actually saving money, since they don’t have to pay rent to their condo.
“It’s not like I’m buying a house for $500,000,” Ellingers said.
“We’re actually paying $250 a month, so I’m saving a couple hundred dollars.”
So why is Ellings renting?
She says it’s the right thing to do.
Ellinger and her family have been renting a condo for nearly four years, and it’s worked out well for them.
“This is the right place for us,” she said.
She’s had a good experience renting the condo, and she says she would do it again.
But Elling is not happy about the rental assistance program.
“There are no benefits,” she explained.
“The rental assistance is a trap.”
And this rental assistance doesn’t even cover the rent she pays on her condo.
Elling’s rent for her condo has ballooned to nearly $2,000 a month after she took out a $3,000 loan.
“If I don’t take care of this mortgage, I’ll be a debt collector,” she added.
And if Elling ends up owing money on the condo and it gets foreclosed, she might have to find another place to live.
That could happen if her condo doesn’t get sold, or if her mortgage gets paid back.
“And I could end up getting evicted and not be able to pay it back,” she warned.
But for now, Elingers says she’s staying put.
She’s staying in the condo with her husband.
And she plans to stay there for a long time.