Pros & Cons of Living in Tampa, Florida
Moving to a new city can be a big decision. While you may not know whether or not it was the right choice for you until after you’re settled in, doing some research beforehand can help you make a more informed decision. To start: consider our list of pros and cons of living in Tampa, Florida.
Tampa has a lot going for it, like a low cost of living, tons to do, good schools, and proximity to beaches, amusement parks, and more. It also has plenty of jobs, especially with a military base close to the city. But of course, there are drawbacks, including limited public transportation, the potential for hurricanes and other natural disasters, and increasing housing costs.
Based in Lithia, Eaton Realty represents buyers, sellers, and renters in and around Tampa Bay. For each client, our goal is to help them find a home that works for them and their families. If you are considering relocating to Tampa, give us a call to learn more about available properties to rent or buy.
Advantages of Living in Tampa
Whether you’re a long-time resident of the west-central Florida region or just looking to move here, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to live in the city. The good news: Tampa is a fantastic place to live. Here are some of the benefits of living in Tampa.
Cost of Living
Tampa has a relatively low cost of living, particularly compared to many other major cities in Florida. The overall cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. Housing also tends to be cheaper in Tampa than in many other places, including other cities in Florida, like Miami.
Florida does not have a state income tax, and property taxes are low compared to other places. You generally won’t spend much to heat your home. However, your utilities may ultimately be higher due to the need to run air conditioning throughout much of the year. Overall, Tampa is an excellent place to live if you want to be in a city without a super high cost of living.
Make no mistake: Tampa is a city, home to just under 400,000 people. Yet, at the same time, Tampa has retained the feel and charm of a smaller city.
There are plenty of quiet neighborhoods in Tampa, and many have parks and other public spaces for families to enjoy. There are also plentiful outdoor activities and things to do with kids, like ZooTampa and Busch Gardens Tampa. It is also a relatively short drive to Orlando, where you can explore Disney World and Universal Studios.
Tampa is part of the Hillsborough County School District, meaning that if you choose to live here, your kids will attend great public schools. There are also a number of private schools and higher education options like the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida.
Lots to Do
No matter what you’re interested in, there is a good chance that you can find it in Tampa. From Ybor City’s nightlife to professional sports to museums, there is something for everyone in our city. There are also tons of great shops in quaint neighborhoods, delicious restaurants, and fun festivals.
One of the major reasons that many people move to Florida is the weather. While the summers can be hot and humid, it is often a small price to pay for mild winters.
Tampa has a humid subtropical climate. While the summers can be hot and rainy, the weather is generally mild and dry from November through April. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone tired of snowy, cold weather.
Outdoor Recreation Opportunities
One of the best reasons to live in Tampa is access to tons of outdoor recreation. It is a relatively short drive to one of many great Gulf Shore beaches. You can also take advantage of Tampa Bay itself (a great place to kayak or stand up paddle board), and other rivers and lakes near the city. There are also plenty of nature preserves, hiking and biking trails, and opportunities to swim and play outdoor sports.
There are a lot of major corporations located in and around Tampa. MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) is in South Tampa, bringing plenty of jobs for service members and civilian contractors alike. The large military presence also means that servicemembers can support many businesses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate in Tampa is just 2.5%. Top industries in Tampa include government, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, transportation, utilities, and financial activities.
While Florida is considered distinct from many other Southern states, it is still the South - which means that you can take advantage of great Southern cooking in Florida. Beyond Southern food, the Latin influence and proximity to the ocean mean you can enjoy specialties like a Cuban sandwich or fresh seafood year-round. If you’re into food, Tampa is a great place to live.
Disadvantages of Living in Tampa
Of course, no place is perfect - and that includes Tampa. While there are many good things about living in Tampa, there are some drawbacks.
Cost of Living Is Increasing
While Tampa has a comparatively low cost of living, costs are rising - particularly when it comes to average rent and home sale prices. A recent report found that housing costs in Tampa rose by 28% from 2021 to 2022, which may put Tampa out of the running for many people with smaller housing budgets.
There are other costs to consider as well. Many communities in and around Tampa have a homeowners’ association (HOA), so you’ll likely have to include HOA fees in your budget. You will likely also have higher insurance costs for homeowner’s insurance (to protect against threats like hurricanes and flooding) and auto insurance.
Limited Public Transportation Options
Tampa does have public transportation, including shuttles to MacDill AFB from many communities. However, the public transportation system isn’t as developed as in many cities. There are buses, streetcars, and a seasonal ferry - but they can be challenging to use and may not go where you need to go.
For this reason, most people rely on cars to get around Tampa and the surrounding cities and towns. This has caused a huge increase in traffic, particularly on the highways leading in and out of town. You should consider this factor - including whether you are willing to commute to work - when choosing a place to live in Tampa.
Hurricanes, Tropical Storms, and Other Weather Issues
Yes, Tampa has mild falls, winters, and springs - but the summers can be brutally hot and humid. At the same time, Tampa is at risk of hurricanes, tropical storms, and other weather events (like heavy rain storms, which can cause flooding). To live in Tampa, you must accept the risk of natural disasters.
The weather can also be a problem for people with allergies or anyone who doesn’t like bugs. The mild winters mean plants grow year-round - pollen can be an issue throughout the year. It also means that bugs can flourish, which can cause problems if they get into your house (or if you’d just prefer not to have a lot of insects around!).
Interested in Living in Tampa?
Call Eaton Realty. Tampa is a wonderful place to live. With Tampa, you can enjoy all that a big city has to offer while maintaining a community feel. It is also close to incredible beaches, amusement parks, and other fun things to do.
At Eaton Realty, we work hard to help our clients find the home that is right for them. We have deep experience in the Hillsborough County real estate world, which allows us to assist our clients in finding their dream home. To learn more, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at 813-672-8022 to talk to a member of our team.