Tampa Multifamily Report – Spring 2020

While tourism woes are hurting the metro's prospects, Tampa fared better than the national average as it emerged from lockdown.
Tampa rent evolution, click to enlarge
Tampa rent evolution, click to enlarge

Boosted by strong demographic and above-trend employment gains, Tampa was among the sturdiest rental markets in the U.S. when the coronavirus pandemic began to strengthen its grip on the country’s economy. Slowed rent growth was among the first signs of stress. On a trailing three-month basis through April, rents advanced only 0.1 percent, to $1,280.

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Tampa sales volume and number of properties sold, click to enlarge
Tampa sales volume and number of properties sold, click to enlarge

In early 2019, employment growth in Tampa started to moderate. However, it continued to surpass the national rate, reaching 2.3 percent in the 12 months ending in March, 90 basis points above the U.S. figure. Leisure and hospitality was hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, but other sectors followed. The unemployment rate climbed to 4.3 percent in March—up 130 basis points from February—according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, construction was deemed essential during the statewide lockdown, and low traffic volumes helped large infrastructure projects move forward. The list includes the $864 million Howard Frankland Bridge project and Tampa International Airport’s $150 million upgrade.

Roughly $680 million in assets traded in the first four months of 2020, signaling a softening investor appetite. Deliveries also hit the brakes, with only 772 units coming online this year through April. Despite curbed economic activity, rent growth is expected to endure, as Tampa begins to reopen its economy.

Read the full Yardi Matrix report.