ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida is no stranger to the perfect storm, but what’s brewing in the midst of high population growth, the pressure of inflation on the working and middle classes and double-digit rent increases has hit the state with an unflattering title: the least affordable place to live in America.
According to a February Realtor.com rent report, the top three Sun Belt metros in terms of rent growth were Miami, Orlando and Tampa, in that order. Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale told CBS MoneyWatch that the same metros have topped that list “for the last couple months.”
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More unique to February, however, was the research team’s designation of Miami as the least affordable metro in the U.S., as a typical person renting in the Miami area was found to have a rental burden comprising 59.5% of their monthly income, higher even than Los Angeles, which reported a 46% rent share for February. The average monthly rent is more than $2,900 for people living in the Miami metro.
For Tampa, the average rental burden is 45%, and it’s 37% in Orlando. To put these figures into better perspective, the U.S, Department of Housing and Urban Development defines “cost burden” as when monthly housing costs exceed 30% of one’s monthly income, with “severe cost burden” starting at 50%.
Since March 2019, average rent prices in the U.S. have risen 24%, a rate outpaced by Florida’s four largest metros. Jacksonville’s average rent has increased 32% in that time, Orlando’s 34%, Tampa’s 53% and Miami’s at a staggering 61%, all in just about three years.
In terms of average home values, the average cost rose in Miami from $188K in late 2011 to $489K in March 2022, according to Zillow. The same timeframe saw Orlando’s average home values rise from $138K to $379K, and Tampa’s from $125K to $367K. The national average was higher than Orlando’s and Tampa’s in 2011 as it sat around $165K, now having reached $338K.
A Redfin study of homebuyer migration trends, published April 13, found that Miami was the most popular migration destination in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2022, six times higher than figures collected two years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic. In Tampa, the inflow tripled in that time, ranking third in the nation for the first quarter.
Interestingly, while Redfin found that the city of New York was the top origin for people moving to Miami, the majority of Tampa’s newest residents made the move from Orlando.
CBS spoke with several longtime Floridians who commented on new pressure from the population boom.
Michele DeMoske-Weiss, a retired, 70-year-old nurse who has lived in Palm Beach County for the better part of three decades, said she moved from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom apartment when her landlord sought to hike her rent, and she’s now considering living in Washington or Pennsylvania instead.
“For the first 15 years it’s great, it feels like you’re on vacation, and then for the second 15 years it’s miserable,” she said. “I’m leaving as soon as I can.”
Read more on CBS MoneyWatch.