Pros & Cons of Living in Brandon, Florida
If you’re moving to the Tampa Bay region, you might have a lot of questions about the best place to live. Even if you’re a long-time resident of the area, you might not know a lot about cities and neighborhoods outside of your own. For example: how much do you know about living in Brandon, FL?
Brandon is a community located just 13 miles from Tampa. It has a lot going for it, including great schools, a low cost of living, and plenty to do. However, costs are rising as more people flock to Tampa - and the commute to Tampa can be challenging.
At Eaton Realty, we specialize in real estate in and around Tampa. Our goal is to help each client get the property that meets their unique needs. If you are interested in moving to Brandon, reach out today to learn more about available homes to rent or buy.
All about Brandon, Florida
Located to the east of Tampa, Brandon is part of Hillsborough County and the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg region. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census, Brandon is home to just under 115,000 people.
Brandon was founded in 1857 when a man named John Brandon moved to the region from Mississippi with his wife and children. He purchased a total of 200 acres in the area and named it Brandon. Mr. Brandon operated a grist mill and general store on his property and later purchased an additional 500 acres on which to grow citrus. He later donated land for a school, church, and cemetery for the community.
Brandon continued to grow as the Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad came through the area. By 1922, the population of Brandon was 100 people. By the early 1960s, its population had exploded to 8,000, driven in part by the post-war baby boom. The community continued to grow with the building of the Brandon Community Hospital, the Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association, and Hillsborough Community College.
Today, Brandon is considered a bedroom community of Tampa. Located just 13 miles away from downtown, it’s an easy commute down the crosstown (618) or I-4 for many residents of Brandon. MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) is just 21 miles away.
Brandon has a relatively young population, with just 13.1% over the age of 65 per census data. It is also diverse, with 27.8% of the population identifying as Latino and an additional 17.3% identifying as Black. Immigrants make up 17.1% of the community.
If you are considering moving to Brandon, you’ll need to know more than its history and demographics. Below, we explore the benefits and drawbacks of Brandon to help you make the best decision for yourself and your family about where to live in the Tampa region.
Pros of Living in Brandon, FL
There is a lot to like about living in Brandon. If living in a beautiful place with great weather in a low-cost-of-living area sounds good to you, then Brandon might be the right town for you.
Low Cost of Living
In Brandon, it is more than possible to purchase your dream home - and afford it! The median sale price for a home in Brandon was $360,000, which is a significant increase from 2021. If these trends continue, then buying a home in Brandon might prove to be a great investment. For renters, the average cost to rent an apartment is $1,776 per month.
The low cost of living in Brandon is particularly stark when compared to nearby Tampa. The median listing home price in Tampa is $430,000. Rent is also higher in Tampa, at an average of $1,915 per month. This number may be higher depending on which neighborhood you choose.
The bottom line: your money goes further in Brandon than it does in many other communities in the region. If you want to live near Tampa without the high cost of city living, Brandon is a great choice.
A lot of people move to Florida for the weather, and for good reason. What’s not to like about relatively warm weather year-round? Temperatures in Brandon range from a low of 52 degrees in February to a high of 93 in August.
Summers in Brandon can be rainy as it is part of a subtropical zone. However, winters are mild and dry - which is a nice change for many people coming to Brandon from cold climates!
Brandon is part of the Hillsborough County School District. There are great public schools in Brandon, including seven elementary schools (Brooker, Buckhorn, Kingswood, Limona, Schmid, Yates, and Mintz), three middle schools (Burns, McLane, and Mann), and one high school (Brandon High).
In addition to these public schools, there are also several private schools, including:
- Bell Shoals Baptist Academy
- Brandon Academy Private School
- Central Baptist School
- Faith Baptist School
- Nativity Catholic School
- Immanuel Lutheran School
- Providence Christian School
The availability of both public and private schools means that you have a lot of choices when it comes to where your kids go to school. There are also three colleges in Brandon: Emmaus Baptist College, Hillsborough Community College, and Southern Technical College. It is also an easy commute to other universities, such as Southeastern Florida University and The University of Tampa.
Close to Tampa
Tampa is just 13 miles away from Brandon - a drive of about 20 minutes, depending on traffic. As a result, it is easy to live in Brandon and work in Tampa. It’s also a quick drive to access nightlife, restaurants, sporting events, and more in the city. If you are stationed at MacDill AFB, you can live off-base in Brandon and commute in about 30 minutes.
Lots to Do
Brandon is ideally located to take advantage of all that Southwest Florida offers. There are tons of nearby beaches and places for outdoor recreation, such as the Brandon Park & Recreation Center and Paul Sanders Park. You can also take advantage of its great dining and shopping options, such as Beef O’Brady’s - a chain that started in Brandon.
There are also a lot of cultural opportunities in Brandon. The Brandon Regional Library is an incredible public library. It shares a building with Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association.
If you want to branch out beyond Brandon, there is lots to do in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, and Saratoga. You can check out the nightlife in Ybor City, go to a Bucs game, take a trip to Busch Gardens, or spend some time at the beach.
Because Brandon is so close to Tampa, it is often easy for residents to find jobs. According to Indeed.com, there are currently more than 65,000 job openings in Tampa across a range of industries. There are also plenty of job options in Brandon itself - in addition to the potential to work remotely.
Cons of Living in Brandon, FL
Like any place, there are drawbacks to living in Brandon. Being a bedroom community can be great - but it often means rising costs and congestion. Here are some things you should take into account if you are thinking about living in Brandon.
One of the biggest reasons for moving to Brandon is its closeness to Tampa. Yet this proximity is also a drawback, as more people choose to live in the suburbs and commute to the city. This can mean that a 13 mile drive to Tampa can take far longer than 21 minutes, depending on the time of day.
Limited Public Transportation
Brandon is served by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. It has four local and three express bus lines. While having a bus option is good, it isn’t developed enough to allow most people to go without cars. There is also no direct shuttle to MacDill AFB. As a result, you will almost certainly need a vehicle if you want to live in Brandon - and you should be aware that your commute may be longer than anticipated.
In Brandon, the weather is both a pro AND a con. Yes, it is great to live in a place with warm weather year-round. But Brandon can also be incredibly hot and humid, especially in the summer.
There is also the reality of hurricanes. While Brandon escaped catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ian, there was still plenty of damage to homes and businesses. While Brandon isn’t unique in being vulnerable to hurricanes in the Tampa-St. Pete region, it is something to consider if you are worried about major weather events.
Rising Home Prices
As noted above, Brandon’s population is steadily increasing. Its housing prices are also going up substantially. From 2021 to 2022, the average sale price of a home in Brandon rose by 22%. While this is good news for current homeowners, it can make it harder to buy in Brandon if you have a smaller budget.
Interested in Living in Brandon? Give Us a Call
Brandon, Florida may not be for everyone - but it can be a great choice for anyone who wants to live close to a big city, beaches, and more. If you have read our list of pros and cons and have decided that Brandon is for you, we can help.
Based in nearby Lithia, Eaton Realty works with individuals and families as they seek to buy, sell, or rent a home. We have years of experience in the Brandon area, and put our knowledge to work to help our clients find the home that works for them. To learn more, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at 813-669-4474 to talk to a team member.