Rent prices drop in Orlando, high costs still squeezing families

Families struggle to afford rent costs as the holidays roll in

Rent prices in Orlando are on the decline, and Zillow experts say that’s because people can’t afford the bill.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rent prices in Orlando are on the decline, and Zillow experts say that’s because people can’t afford the bill.

Orphe Divounguy, senior economist with Zillow, said prices are dropping because there is less demand for rental housing.

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As the ticket prices rose, people moved back in with family members or moved out of the city.

Zillow’s latest rental data shows rent prices in Orlando fell 0.5% month-over-month to about $2,008.

Divounguy said the demand for rentals is lacking not only because prices are too high, but the housing supply is not high enough.

He predicted the shortage will cause rent prices to continue declining in 2023.

“If we continue to see rents coming down at the pace that we saw in the last couple of months, we could see a decline in rent by roughly 6% by the end of the year,” Divounguy said.

For some families squeezed by rent, the price drop still isn’t enough.

Amber Johnston, a single mother from Orlando, watched her young son receive gifts at a toy giveaway Monday night.

These may be the only toys he gets for Christmas this year because she can’t afford to buy any.

“It makes you feel horrible,” she said.

Johnston has been living at an extended-stay hotel for six months after her home foreclosed. She said she can’t afford to pay rent anywhere else.

“Things are so expensive that when you stay here, you can’t even save up to get in somewhere,” Johnston said.

She said she is paying just as much to rent the hotel room as she did for a three-bedroom home.

Now, Johnston said her money won’t stretch enough to continue making payments at the hotel.

“We are actually getting evicted here right now we’re in our last couple of days here,” Johnston said.

Johnston may not be the only one facing these challenges ahead of the holidays.

Although rent prices are dipping the economist says rents in Orlando are still 10-percent higher than they were a year ago, which is disproportionately hurting low-income families.

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Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.