It Doesn’t Add Up For Low-Income Home Buyers

Despite having one of the lowest median home prices in Florida, buying a home in Tampa Bay is far from easy for lower-income or even middle-income families.

Yes the median home price in Tampa Bay of $156K would seem to be in reach of many buyers. But the problem is incomes are even lower. The average median household income this year is $45,880 for the typical Tampa Bay family. That puts the Tampa area dead last among the top 25 metro areas.

If you look at the numbers, according to financial advisor website, Tampa Bay middle class homebuyers are 3% short if having enough money needed to buy even the average home on the market today in the Tampa Bay area.

No wonder the Tampa Bay real estate market is still struggling.

This study supports findings by another report by the United Way. They found that almost half of Florida households struggle to afford basic needs. That study says 3.2 million in the state, or about 600,000 in the Tampa area, are having trouble buying necessities let alone consider buying homes or luxury items.

This helps explain why the Rays have a hard time filling the stadium and why restaurants often close after a short time. People just can’t afford these “luxury” items if they are having a hard time meeting basic needs.

The Most Affordable Metro Areas

Of the major metropolitan areas here’s the top 5 in terms of affordability…

  1. Minneapolis
  2. Atlanta
  3. St. Louis
  4. Detroit
  5. Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay ranks 13th in terms of affordability in the list of the Top 25.

I guess the good news is, we sure would choose Tampa Bay over the cities on that list. It has so much more to offer. And that explains why so many people want to live here despite the problem with average incomes.

The Lowest Income Metro Areas

Here’s the top 5 lowest and highest income cities on the list…


  • Tampa – $45,880
  • Miami – $49,946
  • Pittsburgh – $51,291
  • San Antonio – $51,716
  • Phoenix – $51,847


  • Washington D.C. – $90,149
  • San Francisco – $79,624
  • Boston – $72,907
  • Baltimore – $68,455
  • Seattle – $67,479

Still living in Tampa Bay is not so bad and definitely worth what it costs us to live here. It reminds me of the famous quote from Mark Twain…

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”