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Can Affordable Housing Keep Up Florida’s Growth?

A new report from UF’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies found Florida continues to have an affordable housing gap. A larger housing supply and more homeowner assistance is needed.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – While Florida is booming in home sales and new construction, the influx of people moving to the state means affordable housing remains an issue, according to a new report from the University of Florida.

More than 450,000 people moved to Florida in 2021 and 2022, according to the report. Single family homebuilding was especially strong in a swath of growing counties across Southwest and Central Florida, including Polk, Lee, Pasco and Hillsborough counties, said Anne Ray, the manager of the Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse at UF’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. Multifamily development was also strong but more concentrated in the state’s major metro areas, including Orlando, Tampa, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, and Jacksonville.

Florida passed the Live Local Act in 2023, which directed $711 million into affordable housing programs and to incentivize investment from developers.

“With our growing population and strong housing markets, Florida continues to have an affordable housing gap. We can address that gap by redoubling our efforts to increase the supply of affordable homes and apartments and to assist individual homeowners and renters in maintaining stable housing,” Ray said. “The need is greatest for residents with low wages and seniors on fixed incomes, but even people in some professional jobs may have trouble affording what they normally would have in the past.”

Key findings from the report include:

Florida’s 5.7 million single family homes make up the largest share of the housing supply. 71% of these homes are homesteaded, indicating that they serve as the owner’s primary residence rather than second homes, vacation homes, or rental properties.

Florida produced approximately 125,000 single family homes in 2022. This production level is similar to the early 2000s – lower than the number of homes built during the 2004-2006 peak years, but well above the production level following the 2008 housing crash.

Polk County was the state’s single family construction hotspot, with 9,235 single family homes built. Of the top 10 counties for single family construction, only Hillsborough and Duval were large urban counties.

Florida’s housing markets have returned to their mid-2000s strength. The statewide median single family home price reached $400,000 in the first half of 2023.

Florida rents increased steeply between 2020 and 2022, then held steady at these higher levels in 2023. Median gross rents increased 41% between July 2020 and July 2022 according to Apartment List. Median rent for housing seekers was $1,693 in July 2023, a two percent drop from 2022 but still well above 2017-2021 levels.

There are now 862,465 low-income, cost burdened renters in Florida. A household is cost-burdened when it spends more than 40% of their income on housing costs in the state of Florida. 60% of these households live in Florida’s seven large counties (Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach and Pinellas).

© 2024 University of Florida