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Survey: Tampa Bay Region Is Tops For Apartment Searches

A map of where people outside of Tampa are looking for apartments in the metro.

By Bradley George

Florida attracts newcomers from everywhere in the U.S. and around the world. An apartment rental website has released a report that looks at the most popular sites where people are considering a move.

“We’re looking at search data, so these aren’t yet completed moves, but this is a signal of where renters are looking to move next,” said Chris Salviati, chief economist at ApartmentList. He looked through the site’s search data from January 2018 to May of this year.

“Tampa, among the 25 largest metros in the nation, tops the list for inbound searches coming from outside the metro,” he said. “So, for all of the people looking for an apartment in the Tampa metro, 63% are currently living somewhere else.” 

Most of those searches are coming from folks living in Miami and Orlando, followed by New York. Residents of Detroit, Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington, D.C. were also looking for Tampa-area apartments. Tampa renters searched for apartments in Lakeland, Miami, and Orlando.

Here's a link to the survey. Some caveats: this is data from a single website, and it’s only for apartment searches, not signed leases. But Salviati says where people are looking can tell a lot about the health of a metro area’s economy.

“Tampa has been growing a lot in the last few years and it’s having a lot of economic growth that’s drawing people from other parts of Florida, and around the country as well,” he said.

The Census Bureau tracks people moving from one part of the U.S. to another, but it takes years to compile and release that data.  Salviati says ApartmentList plans to report its findings a few times each year. 

Bradley George was a Morning Edition host and reporter at WUSF until March 2022.
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