Explore these Articles & Interactive Dashboards
LOOK UP COST BURDEN BY COUNTY
Cost Burden by County shows the distribution of cost-burdened households by income bracket and tenure in Florida. Not surprisingly, the share of cost-burdened households for each tenure type increases as income decreases. In the extremely low-income (ELI) and very low-income brackets (VLI), 86% and 74% of all households are cost-burdened, respectively, a dramatic increase from 77% and 70% in 2019. Cost burden is especially widespread among low-income renters. When filtering cost-burdened households by tenure, rates for renters consistently place at and above 40% across Florida’s counties, save for a few more rural counties.
HOUSING INSTABILITY LEADS TO HOMELESSNESS
Florida has outperformed the nation in reducing homelessness among families in almost every demographic group. Overall, the state’s progress in reducing literal homelessness is a testament to the “Housing First” model’s success and strong political support for homeless assistance programs.
“…when broken out by race, it’s clear that some racial and ethnic groups experience homelessness at disproportionate rates. Almost 40% of people experiencing homelessness are Black/African American even though Black/African Americans only make up 16% of the state.”
CAN THE WORKFORCE AFFORD TO LIVE IN FLORIDA?
Incomes rose dramatically over the last two years of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but alongside matching increases in home prices and essentials, this rise has had a negligible difference in most households’ buying power.
The 2021 median wage for all Florida occupations was $18.23, meaning the median hourly wage increased by almost 6% between 2018-2021. Incomes rose dramatically over the last two years of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but alongside matching increases in home prices and essentials, this rise has had a negligible difference in most households’ buying power. Dashboard 3 shows the ten most common of these low-paying occupations, which alone account for over 1 in 5 jobs in Florida. Across the state, the majority of these occupations do not pay enough . In Orlando (pictured), 7 of the top 10 occupations generally pay less than half the 2020 Family Survival Wage, which does not account for the last two years of rising housing costs. These households are vulnerable to financial crises due to job loss, illness, childcare emergencies, automobile breakdown, or other disruptions common to any household. When households cannot make ends meet, they tend to cut corners in their budgets in risky ways—including accumulating credit card debt, eating an inadequate diet, forgoing preventative health care, choosing lower-quality childcare, or neglecting to register or purchase liability insurance for their automobiles. In the worst cases, these families join the ranks of the homeless households described above.
DISPARITY IN WAGES BY RACE
In Florida as a whole, the average hourly per capita income for white individuals is $19.50 and for Black individuals is $10.56, representing an $8.94 difference in hourly wage.
AFFORDABLE AND AVAILABLE RENTALS BY MSA
SHORTAGE OF AFFORDABLE AND AVAILABLE RENTAL UNITS
Florida’s communities have rental units, both subsidized and unsubsidized, that are affordable to low-income households. However, there are not enough of these units to meet demand, especially in higher-priced metro areas, and higher-income households occupy some of these rentals. Low-income renters find themselves in a game of musical chairs for a limited number of affordable units.
“At 30% AMI, no MSA has enough affordable homes for their population of households making that income, forcing people into cost burden.”
The limited supply of affordable rental housing for low-income families is continually shrinking, requiring new affordable homes to be built to maintain the supply. Owners of rental units subsidized by federal, state, and local funding must keep rents affordable for tenants in certain income brackets for a set period, usually 15 to 50 years, depending on the housing subsidy used to finance the units. The units may be lost from the affordable housing stock if the affordability period expires, the owner prepays the mortgage to end the affordability period early, the property is foreclosed on, or (in extremely rare cases) the subsidy is removed due to poor property management.
At the national level, the rental market recovered faster than the homeownership market after the 2008 Recession. After peaking in 2009, rental vacancies declined to levels not seen since the early 2000s. As measured by the Consumer Price Index, the nominal value of contract rents (excluding utilities) began to rise in 2010 and outpaced inflation by 2012. This tightening of the national rental market can be attributed to former homeowners entering the rental market after foreclosures.
Rental trends at the national level are reflected in Florida. Since 2010, median gross rent has consistently been higher than rent affordable at Florida’s median renter income. The gap between median rents and what the average renter could afford to pay has grown from a low of $154 in 2014 to $184 in 2019, though the gap is still smaller than the post-Recession high of $194 in 2011. Meanwhile, the state’s overall rental vacancy rate has dropped from a peak of 13.2% in 2009 to 6.5% in 2021. Because the American Community Survey lags a few years behind and is less than an ideal source of data for a market that has shifted dramatically in the last two years, it is useful to look at other sources of data that better track 2020-2022. While it does not include the whole state, the Zillow Observed Rents Index (ZORI) tracks 11 MSAs across the state for the observed rents in these communities. Between 2020 and 2022, after nearly a decade of relatively stable rents, rents across the state have consistently risen by double digits. Of the communities measured, Sebring increased the least, at 32% higher rents between February 2020 and May 2022, or about 15% a year compared to 7% a year between 2014-2020. In Fort Meyers, rents rose an incredible 47%, or close to 22% a year compared to 10% a year between 2014-2020. In other words, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, rents have risen more than twice as quickly as they were before the Pandemic in all of Florida’s major metropolitan areas.
“…during the COVID-19 Pandemic, rents have risen more than twice as quickly as they were before the Pandemic in all of Florida’s major metropolitan areas.”