Inflation has been on people's minds for weeks. As the holidays continue to rapidly approach, staples such as food and gas continue to creep up in price. After speculation and debate about the prospect of high inflation, the effects are finally starting to be felt. And nowhere is feeling the effects of inflation quite like the residents of the Tampa Bay area.
In a lengthy report published by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Tampa Bay was found to be the leader in inflation nationwide. In an examination of all major metropolitan areas, Tampa Bay was first with an inflation rate of 8% for the month of November. For context, average inflation is roughly accounted for at 3%, and anything 5% and higher is often considered high.
No other area tracked inflation as high as 8%. Two other cities, Dallas and San Bernandino, both notched inflation over 7% but the rest of the cities on the list were in the 5-6% range. Even cities often considered far more expensive than Tampa had much lower inflation rates. Washington DC didn't crack 6% inflation and Boston, likewise, was only at 5.4%.
You can read the entire report for yourself here.
According to local experts, the two most noticeable price spikes have occurred in real estate and car sales. Realtor.com pegs Tampa as a strong seller's market. Median home prices have risen by $100k in just three years up to $350k from $250k in 2018. Similarly, the time on the market has been cut in half from 81 days to 47 days in a little over a year.
Cars are also coming at a premium. Many lots have a low supply or have gaps in their inventory leading to buyers having to cough up a pretty penny in order to drive off the lot.
Forutunately, Tampa continues to clock below-average gas prices. The AAA average for a gallon of regular gasoline stands at $3.32 nationwide while Tampa's gas is coming in at $3.19 per gallon, a thirteen cents difference.
That may be little comfort for those who are starting to feel the bite of inflation. A sustained inflation rate of 8% can cause prices to balloon and wipe out any wage gains that the area saw in recent years. Many raises only account for that 3% inflation number and a 5% raise is often considered good. But if a worker receives a 5% raise in an 8% inflation market they are actually going to feel like they received a 3% pay cut. That will do nothing to alleviate the student loan crunch and rental crisis that are looming over young adults in Tampa.
Those numbers only reflected November's data and hopefully, Tampa will come out in December as an anomaly instead of a trend. In the meantime, tighten your wallets and prepare to see prices continue to soar in the coming weeks.