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By Joel Henderson - Real Estate Specialist -

Moving to Tampa

Tampa Florida is an influential corporate center as well as a family-friendly town with magnificent beaches and world-class museum collections. Most importantly, it's a fantastic area to live where you can enjoy a lifestyle near the downtown, have a laid-back life in one of the many beach villages, or anywhere in the middle.

If you're considering moving to Tampa, here's everything you need to know about your new home. This ultimate guide to Tampa will tell you about the best neighborhoods in the area, what it feels like to live here, fun things to do, the best places to visit, and stuff to keep in mind before making the move.

Before we move ahead to why Tampa is one of the best places to move in 2022, let us get a sense of the area.

Understanding Tampa can be perplexing because the metro area's list of cities and counties can vary. According to the official US Census Bureau’s definition, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater MSA comprises not just Hillsborough County in Tampa, but also Hernando, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. Manatee, Sarasota, Citrus, and Polk counties are included in some other classifications.

The area is most commonly referred to as "Tampa Bay" or "Tampa-St. Pete," regardless of which cities and counties come inside your own definition.

As of 2018, this vast territory had a population of more than 3.1 million people, making it the fourth-largest metro area in the Southeast. That means you'll have plenty of options when it comes to finding a place that suits your needs.

For valuable tips to navigate the real estate market with confidence, check out our library for buyers!

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Why Tampa?

Bustling economy, beautiful beaches, great neighborhoods

Tampa is not only ideal for tourists but also a wonderful spot for relocation. The location has a lot to offer, from a large business district to all of the facilities of a big city, all while enjoying fantastic weather and gorgeous beaches.

Here are the top 5 reasons to move to Tampa:

  1. Location. The first reason to move to Tampa is that there's plenty to see and do, from top-rated beaches to parks, museums, and more. The beautiful white sand beaches that can be seen here draw visitors from all over the world. On the clear warm water beaches, you may relax and enjoy the sun. Clearwater Beach, for example, is a popular tourist spot, with a snow-like powder that keeps it refreshing even when the sun is hot. There are also many other places surrounding beaches where you can spend your vacation. Apart from beaches, the area is a great place to spend time with your family because of its family-friendly theme parks, museums, and other attractions. Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Florida Museum of Natural History are just a few of the finest museums in the area.
  2. Affordability. Have you ever wanted to live on the coast but been put off by the higher living costs in locations like Florida and Miami? If so, here is the ideal location to turn your aspirations of living on the Gulf Coast into reality, that too at a reasonable cost. The monthly rent in Tampa Bay is around $2,000 on average. Purchasing a home in 2022 is also a smart option because statistics predict that home values will rise in the next years. In short, now would be the perfect time to relocate here.
  3. Employment. The job market is thriving in the city, with an unemployment rate of just 3.7 percent. Every year, new start-ups spring up in this city, providing a plethora of career prospects for job searchers. As a result, it is not difficult to find an ideal job in any area here. Healthcare, education, the military, and other professional services are among the main industries where you can find work.
  4. Weather. If you’re in need of some vitamin D and you despise chilly weather, then Tampa is the place for you. The temperature ranges from 60 to 90 degrees all year, with an average of 75 to 80 degrees. With weather like this, it's easy to see why Tampa locals like seeking out outside activities.
  5. Schools. Hillsborough County, Florida's third-largest school district, serves about 220,000 students in 300 schools. From elementary to high school, a vibrant schooling program offers specialized, focused study in areas such as the International Baccalaureate, performing arts, science, and more. The district also provides students with great school alternatives, with a variety of first-come, first-served options ranging from private and charter schools to home schooling. Hillsborough County schools consistently outperform their peers in terms of academic achievement and graduation rates. Seven regional schools were recognized in the top 10 on U.S. News & World Report's prestigious "Best High Schools" list this year. The district's graduation percentage increased for the fifth year in a row, reaching an all-time high of 86.2 percent.

There are four colleges or universities in the metro area:

University of South Florida- a public university and fourth largest in the state.

The University of Tampa, a medium-sized private university with an urban campus, is located in Tampa, Florida.

St. Petersburg College is a private Presbyterian liberal arts college in St. Petersburg.

Hillsborough Community College is a two-year college in Hillsborough, Florida

Apart from these reasons, there is no state income tax in Florida. This means that if you choose to reside in Tampa or any other Florida city, you will save approximately 6% of your salary. Those who wish to keep more of their money where it belongs–in their bank account–should think about making the switch.

Tampa Real Estate

A growing region with diversity of housing options

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay is the 7th hottest metro area for investors in the United States. In fact, investors are bidding for properties in Tampa at an all-time high.

Furthermore, higher-paying professional and commercial services are creating consistent job growth. As a result, Tampa's economy is growing and the housing demand in Tampa and Hillsborough County is rapidly increasing.

Here are some reasons to buy property in Tampa:

Population Growth

According to data from the United States Census Bureau, the population of Tampa (including Hillsborough County) has grown by about 230,000 people in the last ten years. According to the most current population growth statistics, the Tampa Bay metro area is attracting more people than Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Palm Beach.

  • After Miami and Jacksonville, Tampa is the third most populated city in Florida and the 52nd most populous city in the United States.
  • The city of Tampa has a population of about 385,000 people, and the Tampa Bay/Hillsborough County metropolitan region has a population of almost 3.1 million people.
  • Tampa's population grew by 1.3 percent last year and is expected to grow by 3.3 percent annually in the coming years.
  • By 2024, the metropolitan region is expected to have about 126,000 more residents.
  • Over the next 20 years, the Tampa MSA is predicted to grow by 25%, with more than 3.8 million people residing in the metropolitan region by 2040.

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Tampa Economy

Help wanted!

Since the beginning of 2021, the Tampa area has added 84,600 new private-sector employment, the most of any metro area in the state (as of September 2021). Key employment areas such as leisure and hospitality, construction, professional and business services, and financial services are all seeing strong job growth as the economy recovers.

Stats on employment:

  • According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Tampa MSA's GDP is over $169 billion and has increased by about 46% in the last decade.
  • Over the last year, employment in Tampa has increased by 3.3 percent, while the unemployment rate has dropped to 2.3 percent.
  • The job market in Tampa is expected to develop because of expansions and recoveries in the business services, tourism, and healthcare industries.
  • Financial and professional services, information technology, life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, and distribution and logistics are all high-growth businesses in the Tampa metro area.
  • The corporate headquarters of twenty corporations with a total yearly sales of more than $1 billion, including eight Fortune 1000 companies, are located in Tampa Bay.
  • Publix Super Markets Inc., BayCare Health Care Systems, Walmart, Verizon Communications, TECO Energy Inc., MacDill Air Force Base, Times Publishing Co., and OSI Restaurant Partners LLC (casual dining company that operates Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Flemings Steakhouse) are among the largest employers in Tampa Bay.

Tampa is an important transport hub. A coastal city midway down the state's Gulf of Mexico coast, Tampa has major North/South and East/West interstates running through it, giving trucks a few hours' access to the entire state- America's third largest state. Tampa International Airport has service from all major carrier with over 90 direct flights to destinations in the US, Central and South America, Europe and the Caribbean. 

The shipping port is Florida's largest and boasts the ability to handle everything from massive container ships to popular cruise lines. Four major cruise lines operate regularly out of the port.  

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Tampa, Florida

Arts, beaches, thrills!

  1. Busch Gardens near Tampa Bay, Florida, has plenty of options to thrill and amuse guests of all ages. There is a lot to see and do here, from thrilling rides and entertaining performances to animal attractions and fun for smaller children. Also, you can learn about conservation and wildlife while still having fun on the rides and watching the shows.
  2. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which stretches almost 22,000 feet in length, has become an iconic monument as well as a convenient link route. This steel and concrete bridge, which was completed and dedicated in 1987, is an excellent site to snap panoramic photos as well as enjoy great vistas. When you visit, you may enjoy the bridge's contemporary style and architecture while also witnessing the splendor of the emerald green waterways below.
  3. Ybor City, which dates back to the late 1800s, is a historical district well known for its cigar industry. This district, which has been home to immigrants from all over the world throughout the years and is now a National Historic Landmark District, provides a unique glimpse into local history and culture. When you visit this neighborhood, you can expect to be surrounded by old-world charm as well as sights and attractions. You can go shopping at the market, explore the surrounding region, and relax at one of the many restaurants and pubs in the vicinity.
  4. Big Cat Rescue, located on 67 acres in North Tampa, is a refreshing, entertaining, and instructive facility that is a joy to visit. This wildlife refuge is dedicated to both rescuing and rehabilitating big cats who have been harmed. This sanctuary has housed a variety of big cats, and thousands of people come to observe these animals as well as support the sanctuary's cause. When you come here, you can take tours of the sanctuary, participate in educational activities, and help contribute towards a good cause.
  5. The Tampa Theatre, located in downtown Tampa, is not only a historically significant structure but also an important landmark in the neighborhood. It dates back to the mid-twentieth century and is widely sought after for being a place to enjoy some cultural entertainment. Visitors can watch a diverse selection of films, including foreign and indie films as well as documentaries. The theatre has been featured onscreen in a number of projects, including movies and music videos, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.
  6. Amalie Arena in Tampa has hosted a wide range of fascinating events and is a spacious arena that attracts a large number of visitors who come to enjoy everything - from concerts to sporting events. The Tampa Bay Storm and Tampa Bay Lightning play at this arena, which was previously known as Ice Palace. The arena is 670,000 square feet in size, and visitors can enjoy taking in the expansive grounds as well as learning about the arena's history.
  7. Tampa’s famous Manatee Viewing Center allows you to see, learn, and interact with manatees while also immersing yourself in their natural habitat. You can also walk outside and see attractions like the beautiful butterfly gardens and beautiful surroundings. If you want to appreciate nature, get some education or have some fun regardless of age, then this is the place to go.
  8. The Florida Aquarium A trip to the Florida Aquarium is a great way to spend a pleasant day with the whole family. This is an excellent spot for individuals of all ages to get up close and personal with marine life while also having a good time learning. There are many different animals to see and a diverse assortment of exhibitions to see. You may also take advantage of minor extras like the Wild Dolphin Cruise and daily entertainment, which are excellent fun for the entire family.
  9. ZooTampa at Lowry Park The ZooTampa at Lowry Park, which spans sixty-three acres in Tampa, is a pleasant and fascinating attraction for visitors. Many species, including amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles, can be found in this zoo. You can also learn about conservation and take part in a variety of educational programs, including the Zoo School and numerous children's events and activities. The Asian Plants and Primate World, for example, are created to depict different ecosystems, and let the visitors enjoy the gorgeous landscape and gardens.
  10. The Tampa Bay History Center is a terrific destination to visit for individuals who appreciate diving into the past and learning more about Tampa's history. When you visit, you can expect to see a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions and participate in various activities and educational programs.

Professional Sports

One of the best aspects of living in Tampa is the wide range of professional sports accessible.

If you enjoy football, you can go to the Raymond James Stadium and support the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.

Do you prefer hockey? Every year between October and April, the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) takes to the ice at Amalie Arena.

Likewise, if you are into baseball, there are two possibilities for professional baseball in Tampa.

Do visit Tropicana Field to see the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) or Steinbrenner Field see the Tampa Tarpons (MiLB)—and don't forget that Steinbrenner Field is home to the New York Yankees during spring training!

Tampa Metro Area

Several cities and neighborhoods

The city of Tampa lies at the heart of a natural inlet from the Gulf of Mexico. As Florida has grown in population, so has the Tampa market area. 

The market includes several new and old housing districts in and around the city. It also extends to the land around the bay that is formed by the inlet. The land around the bay is a large peninsula accessed by highways from the north or directly across Tampa Bay by long, gorgeous causeways. 

Our guide below will give you an overview of neighborhoods including their history and their unique characteristics. In addition to Tampa downtown and suburbs, we'll give you a look at the two cities on the peninsula that make up the Tampa market area and are major living and business centers in their own right.

Ybor City

Since cigar-maker Vincente Martinez-Ybor created the city in the 1880s, Tampa's historic area has undergone various alterations.

Ybor was once a bustling community populated by Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants who worked in the cigar factory. But once automation took over their jobs, the village suffered economic deterioration.

The mostly abandoned neighborhood became popular with young artists and musicians looking for affordable rent in the 1970s and 1980s, and the first revival began with clubs, art galleries, restaurants, and vintage stores lining the major artery, Seventh Avenue. By the 1990s, developers had discovered Ybor's potential and had constructed a busy New Orleans-style entertainment zone of bars and nightclubs, driving out the previous generation of artists with higher rents.

Many of the shotgun-style houses where cigar-factory workers originally resided have been refurbished. Some apartment complexes in the area are getting popular with young professionals and students, especially on the quieter streets away from Seventh Avenue. 

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Downtown Tampa

After a large restoration project that reoriented the attention toward the river, Tampa's urban core is now buzzing almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can always find Paddleboarders, and kayakers mixed with Pirate Water Taxis on the now-pristine Hillsborough River, which transport passengers to restaurants, museums, and parks along the 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk.

Curtis Hixon Park is a large green park in the city's center that holds festivals, concerts, and family-friendly events all while overlooking the river. Downtown condos and flats are thriving, anchored by “Skypoint and Element”, the first downtown residential towers built after the Great Recession.

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Tampa Channel District

The Channel District, also known as Channelside, is a lively and densely inhabited district just east of downtown. It has gone from a gritty warehouse zone supporting the Port of Tampa to a highly populated neighborhood of converted lofts, luxury apartments, and highrise condos.

Sparkman Wharf, nestled along Garrison Channel, is a popular dining and cocktail destination, where you can enjoy your food in open green space or at picnic tables. 

Harbour Island is the grand dame of downtown neighborhoods, located between downtown and the Channel District. The island's waterfront has been bordered by enormous mansions for decades. The island is also home to a few hotels, restaurants, and stores, as well as Amalie Arena, the 20,500-seat home of the Tampa Bay Lightning and hundreds of performances each year.

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Davis Islands

These two man-made islands were excavated from the bay in the 1920s and now house almost  3,000 people, many of whom live on the water.

The neighborhood is friendly to families and takes pride in having no traffic lights. Cyclists and runners enjoy the miles of a paved trail that ultimately lead to the Marjorie Park Yacht Basin. The area features plenty of green space for picnics and frisbee sports, as well as a popular dog park and beach where residents bring their four-legged friends for some fun.

The village's "downtown" has quaint, mid-century modern-style shops and restaurants. However, the lifestyle on the island is expensive, with the average property costing approximately $800,000.

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Westchase is a large master-planned community with about 30 "villages" and subdivisions, as well as country clubs and golf courses.

West Park Village, the city's main shopping, dining, and entertainment district, is constructed in the spirit of Hyde Park Village, combining excellent dining with casual drinking establishments and upscale boutiques.

Miles of walking and bicycling routes make their way through the Westchase communities, which have homes, apartments, and condos ranging in price from modest to executive and luxury. The villages are home to about 25,000 people, and while families make up the majority of the population, younger professionals are also drawn to the area because of its active lifestyle and proximity to Tampa International Airport and downtown.

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Tampa Expanded Metro

Tampa lies at the heart of an inlet that is bounded by a peninsula to the west that is home to some of the world's top ranked beaches and neighborhoods.

The two largest cities on the peninsula are Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Clearwater has an average home price of $350,000 (in 2022). The market consists of single-family ranch homes, often with pools, as well as extensive condo developments both inland and by the beaches. Several of the condo developments are age-restricted. Clearwater is home to a large retirement population.

The city sits on an inlet protected by barrier islands. This gives the area the ability to have beautiful beaches as well as sheltered marinas that are home to sailors, fishermen and cruisers.

St. Petersburg occupies the tip of the peninsula. Though technically in the Tampa market area, this city of 264,000 is a housing and employement center in it's own right and not really a commuter area of Tampa proper. Here you can find urban waterfront living with a view to the ocean and Tampa Bay, or suburban living just outside the downtown core. St. Petersburg hosts one of the largest Salvador Dali collections in the world.

Just outside of downtown is Fort De Soto Park. This barrier island park features miles of protected areas to kayak on the Eastern side. On the Southwestern side lies Fort De Soto Beach- consistently ranked one of the most beautiful in the world.

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What Now?

Finding an affordable house will require research. We know house hunting in a new city can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially without professional help.

Call us at 855-531-5347 or fill out the form below, and we'll quickly connect you to a local real estate agent expert in Tampa. A member of our friendly team will ask you a few questions about your house needs, expectations, your budget, area of interest, and preferred timeline. After gathering this information, our innovative algorithm will match you with the perfect agent in Tampa with the right experience and knowledge of what you're looking for. 

Let a professional handle house-hunting while you plan your exciting move to Tampa!

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