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Here’s what it takes to find affordable housing in Central Florida

‘A lot of demand, very, very little supply:’ Orlando realtor struggles to find affordable housing for clients

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – An Orlando realtor showed News 6 what affordable housing is on the market in Orange and Seminole counties and here’s the major takeaway: There aren’t a lot of options.

“Very, very little supply,” Bob Caldwell, of Caldwell Realty Service, said.

According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, affordable housing is defined when a person or family isn’t spending more than 30% of their income on rent or mortgage.

“Affordable housing in my experience is somebody that is making minimum wage that can’t afford the rent, very seldom can they buy but the rental market is so tight right now,” Caldwell said.

For a person making minimum wage in Florida at $8.46/hour and working 40 hour week, 30% of their income would mean they are paying $439 per month to meet those affordable housing standards.

For a person making $10/hour 30% of their annual income for rent or mortgage would be $520.

News 6 asked Caldwell to find any housing in that price range or even between $600 $800.

“It’s almost non-existent,” Caldwell said. “You may be able to find some studio apartments or small one-bedrooms, but as far as a single-family, there is nothing that I could even find.”

Here’s what the realtor came up with:

$800: 1 Bedroom, 1 bathroom Piney Point Circle apartment

The first place Caldwell showed was a one-bedroom apartment off Dean Road in East Orange County. It did have a washer, dryer and central airconditioning but it was only 616 square feet.

"About the size of a one-car garage," Caldwell said.

Even that property was off the market in 5 days, according to the listing Caldwell found.

"It's crazy," Caldwell said. "Supply and demand. A lot of demand, very, very little supply."

Caldwell even said those luxury apartments being built all across Central Florida are going fast.

"They are moving in as fast as they can build them," Caldwell said. "Developers are in the business to make money and if they can build something, they can get $1,200-$1,500 dollars for and the market can sustain it then they will."

$800: 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment on Easy Avenue

The second property Caldwell took us to was an apartment in Orlando not far from State Road 408 and off South Orange Blossom Trail. The property was listed at $750, however, the building’s owner, Stan Rich, said he’s actually raising the rent to $800.

“The economy is calling for it,” Rich said.. “I used to rent these three years ago for $650, then I went up to $700. Right now, at $750-800 people just flock here. If I put up the sign, I will have 6 to 8 people here by the afternoon looking.”

Rich said he could even get $900-$1,000, but said financially he doesn’t have to. He did tell us his property taxes have gone up significantly. Still, Rich feels the high rents prices aren’t fair for many of the families he sees struggling.

"I don't think they are fair, you have to give everybody a chance," Rich said. "I've had young single mothers in here. If they have decent credit, if they weren't thrown out of the last one or two places and they have a good job for more than a year, that's what I'm looking for."

$899: 2 bedroom, 1 bath on 24th Street

The last place Caldwell could find within that $600-$800 range was about a mile away in the city of Orlando also not far from South Orange Blossom Trail.

Caldwell said he did find other properties within that range in Orange County were studio apartments. One other 2-bedroom home he found was above $900.

“This is typical for the market. Again, the supply and demand, as the demand goes up, the supply goes down,” Caldwell said. “There is no one answer, It’s going to take time and wages and everything has to go up. $10 an hour doesn’t cut it in this day and age.”


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