TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Rising housing costs have kept inflation on the upswing, in addition to increased prices for fuel and power. The federal government uses those costs to calculate how much assistance it gives to those on welfare, when it comes to housing.

To figure out how much to pay these vulnerable residents to cover rental costs, the U.S. government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development calculates what’s called Fair Market Rent.

“Fair Market Rents, as defined in 24 CFR 888.113 are estimates of 40th percentile gross rents for standard quality units within a metropolitan area or nonmetropolitan county,” according to HUD.

The latest housing cost values are public now, showing how much assistance will be given to each beneficiary to help them pay for a place to live, and Tampa’s prices grew the third highest in the country, since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Tampa is also one of three Florida markets in the top 10 for FMR growth, joined by Orlando and Jacksonville.

Americans on disability, some military veterans, and families who are, at best, at the lowest levels of poverty in the United States all rely on these calculations to receive housing assistance.

Housing is a big measure of inflation, and has consistently been one of three main drivers of cost increases in the U.S. as Americans are confronted by continued cost increases month-after-month. Since Oct. 2021, the cost of housing has increased by 7%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The shelter index continued to increase, rising 0.8% in October, the largest monthly increase in that index since August 1990,” BLS reported in November. “The shelter index was the dominant factor in the monthly increase in the index for all items,” excluding food and energy. Overall, housing cost increased accounted “for over 40& of the total increase in all items less food and energy.”

According to data compiled by Construction Coverage, a business analysis company working with technology and finance researchers, Tampa’s FMR rose 47% since the start of the pandemic.

RankMetro% ChangeStudio FMR1-BR FMR2-BR FMR3-BR FMR4-BR FMR
1Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Ariz.62.3%$1,344$1,467$1,740$2,386$2,716
2Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.49.2%$1,046$1,212$1,457$2,071$2,464
3Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.46.9%$1,291$1,381$1,659$2,123$2,603
4Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, Calif.42.6%$1,287$1,401$1,765$2,502$2,922
5Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.41.1%$1,281$1,398$1,751$2,376$2,922
6Salt Lake City, Utah39.3%$1,033$1,234$1,482$2,030$2,284
7Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Ga.37.8%$1,334$1,363$1,542$1,879$2,293
8Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.35.8%$1,338$1,422$1,616$2,064$2,503
9Jacksonville, Fla.33.8%$948$1,094$1,295$1,667$2,111
10Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas33.4%$1,205$1,293$1,526$1,953$2,503
(Data Compiled by: Construction Coverage)

While the FMR for the Tampa area has risen to $1,381 for a one-bedroom apartment, according to the data from HUD, recent rent measures in Tampa show the cost or a one-bedroom apartment is somewhat higher.

The latest rental data from ApartmentList, a real estate company, reported Tampa median rent levels at $1,421. For a two-bedroom apartment, the FMR is $1,659 but ApartmentList reports it as $1,753.

While the rental data is for the month of December 2022, the FMR numbers are a preview for the entirety of 2023, and the costs the government will pay are lagging behind the market.