South Florida News

South Florida renters pour plenty more money — and they mu​​st work lots more to afford it

South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 5, 2022, Amber Bonefont

After facing dramatic rent hikes, South Floridians must now work many more days full time to be able to afford the typical rent in the area, according to a new analysis.

At the average wage, workers in South Florida now would need to work a total of 96 hours — instead of 72 hours five years ago — the equivalent of working three more full-time days, Zillow found.​

Full article...​​

​To buy a typical home, this is the salary you need now in South Florida

South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 16, 2022, Amber Bonefont

South Florida homebuyers need to make at least six figures annually to afford a home in the area, according to a new analysis.

The salary needed to purchase a home has increased over 55% in the past year as rising interest rates and record-high home prices have put more pressure on buyers’ budgets, an analysis from RedFin, a national real estate brokerage, found.

In Fort Lauderdale, a buyer needs a salary of $105,751 to afford a home at median price. That’s a 56% increase from the year before, when a buyer needed a salary of about $67,574.

Full ar​ticle...​​

​South Florida's home rental market to get pricier after Hurricane Ian. Here's why.

Miami Herald, October 10, 2022, Rebecca San Juan

More snowbirds are expected to flock to South Florida in the coming winter season because of Hurricane Ian's devastation across Southwest Florida. These seasonal residents should expect to pay higher rents here in Miami-Dade and Broward counties due to stronger demand for a tight supply ofhomes, experts say. 

Pricing pressure on rental homes is a prime example of the anticipated ripple effects from Ian's property destruction on the Gulf Coast on the already largely unaffordable housing market in Southeast Florida. That's according to real estate agents, an independent consultant who closely monitors the area's residential real estate activity and a college business professor with housing market expertise.

Full article...​

Rising rent prices are finally easing — but there’s a catch

South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 9, 2022, Amber Bonefont

Rents have finally started to slow down in South Florida after a year of record growth, but whether the trend continues is up in the air.

Various reports indicate that renters might have a small breather after seeing stark increases in their rents.

The Waller, Weeks and Johnson Rental Index, conducted by researchers at various colleges in Florida, shows that while rents in South Florida have increased by at least 21% in August over the past year, most of those increases happened between last September and February.

Rents overall have increased about 6.8% in the past six months in the tricounty area. In July, rents had grown about 8% in the six months before that.

“It’s suggestive of a slowing in rents,” said Ken H. Johnson, real estate economist with Florida Atlantic University. “It’s a pattern around most of the country.”

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Rent gro​wth slows in South Florida

South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 30, 2022, Amber Bonefont

After a year of dramatic rent hikes, it looks like rent growth could be finally starting to slow down in South Florida, according to recent rent index.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Alabama analyzed a number of metropolitan areas across the United States and found that some areas, among them South Florida, are seeing slower rent growth than before.

“Rents are still increasing but the rate is a lot slower,” said Ken H. Johnson, real estate economist with Florida Atlantic University. “In a lot of the cities, we noticed that a lot of those increases came in the first six months of the past year.”

Rents in South Florida increased by 24.61% in July when compared to the year before.

Full article...​​

​​Homebuyers sta​​rt to see price cuts, and more options, as the market starts to cool

South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 18, 2022, Amber Bonefont

The housing market has slowly started to rebalance as less buyer frenzy and higher interest rates help soften it, forcing sellers to adjust to a more normal market.

It’s still a seller’s market, South Florida real estate agents stress, though it’s not the torrid one of six months or a year go where bidding wars were common, homes flew off the market in a matter of days and buyers waived inspection just to get into a home.

Full article...​

​​Miam​i-Dade told citie​s to help build housing that local workers can afford. Few did.

Miami Herald, August 13, 2022, Aaron Leibowitz

Miami-Dade County in 2016 ordered local leaders to take action to encourage development of housing that local workers could afford in their cities. But six years later, most cities still have not complied, according to records obtained by the Miami Herald. Only four of 23 cities that were required to take steps to address workforce housing needs had complied as of late July — five years after the original deadline, which has been pushed back twice. Another 11 cities with fewer than 10,000 residents are exempt from the county requirements.

Under the 2016 legislation, cities were required to share evidence with the county that they considered creating workforce housing incentives for developers. They could either show that they put such incentives in place, or issue a finding that building workforce housing in their city would be “impractical.”

Full article...

South Florida comm​unities are off​​ering rental help

South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 11, 2022, Lisa J. Huriash and Wells Dusenbury

Some communities are helping distribute hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to help residents with the staggering rent increases across South Florida.

Landlords are raising rents by as much as 40%, and wages only have increased about 6%, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Many renters in South Florida have reported rental hikes of anywhere between $200 to $1,000 a month. Rents have been “astronomical,” says Linda Taylor, the CEO of HOMES Inc., a nonprofit whose name stands for Housing Opportunities, Mortgage Assistance & Effective Neighborhood Solutions. “People are absolutely struggling.”

HOMES’ workers have seen examples of the high demand: An employee who recently scoured listings to find a home for a client decided that one apartment would need too much work. But when the employee circled back, the unit already was gone — rented for $1,600 a month, or $200 higher than originally listed.

City and county governments are jumping in to help with rent, often using state and federal money.

Full article...

​Search​es f​or ‘sell my​​ house’ soar as housing market changes

South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 10, 2022, Amber Randall

More people are looking to put their homes on the market as internet searches for selling a house have shot up.

Searches online for “sell my house” have soared in the United States, rising 147% as of July, according to an analysis of Google Trends by luxury home brands Ruby Homes.

“The analysis reveals that searches for ‘sell my house’ exploded to over double the average volume within the past month, an unprecedented increase in Americans looking to sell their property, according to Google search data analysis. The data also reveals that searches for ‘sell my house for cash’ is also at an all time high,” the report said.

And Florida, the third most populous state, ranked No. 5 out in the top 10 of states that had the most searches for a selling a home.

Full article...

​The short-term​ rental market took off during the pandemic’s real estate boom, but at what cost?

South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 8, 2022, Amber Randall

Needing places to either work from temporarily or vacation as they escaped pandemic restrictions, COVID fleers made South Florida one of their top destinations.

And with them came an increased need for short-term housing, or vacation rentals.

At the same time, investments in short-term rentals in South Florida took off as investors sought to cash in on the soaring real estate market, according to real estate agents in South Florida.

It’s a nice way for home owners to earn some extra cash, but how does the proliferation of short-term rentals affect a community?

Full art​icle...​

​As S​outh Florida land dwindles, some wonder - and some worry - about building in the Agricultural Reserve

South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 8, 2022, Amber Randall

Dwindling land supply in South Florida has forced developers to get creative with where and how they build as the region deals with a severe housing shortage.

The few remaining plots of vacant land that remain are typically golf courses or farmland, which often must undergo a lengthy process to be approved for housing.

Such is the case with the Agricultural Reserve, a large swath of farmland in Palm Beach County, bordered by Hypoluxo Road and Clint Moore Road, with Florida’s Turnpike on the east and the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge on the west.

Leaders throughout South Florida are looking for solutions to the affordability crisis, as housing prices increase more than 20% and many people are priced out of the rental market too. Could building in the Agricultural Reserve, some of the last remaining vacant land in Palm Beach County, provide an answer?

Full article...​​

​Leadin​​g M​iami-Dade housing expert offers big fix for home affordability crisis

Miami Herald, July 7, 2022, Michael Butler

Ned Murray is concerned about Miami’s housing affordability crisis, what he called “an extremely dire situation.” As one of the leading South Florida experts on the topic, Murray has been warning about this monumental threat for years. City and county elected leaders know well his economic development and housing market body of research. 

As tough as it’s been to buy or rent in Miami during the past couple of years, the next few years look to be as difficult for many residents, he predicted. Most local services sector workers had their employment disrupted by COVID-19 and now can’t afford to live near where they work — a big impediment.

Full article...

​Biden’​s housing chief calls Miami the ‘epicenter of the housing crisis in this coun​try’

Miami Herald, June 29, 2022, Douglas Hanks

The nation’s top housing official visited Miami on Tuesday and called the city the “epicenter” of a housing crisis in the United States. “I decided I was going to Miami, to the epicenter of the housing crisis in this country,” Marcia Fudge, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said during a visit to Miami-Dade County’s Liberty Square complex. For her first Miami stop, Fudge visited a redeveloped version of one of the oldest public housing complexes in the country, and a reminder of Miami’s segregationist past. Liberty Square, built in the 1930s, was once marked by a concrete wall to mollify white neighbors alarmed at the construction of housing for Black residents in their neighborhood.

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​​Housing Secretary M​arcia Fudge visits South Florida amid affordable housing crisis

7News Miami, June 28, 2022, Alex Browning

When it comes to affordable housing in South Florida many throw out the word ”crisis,” but federal officials want people to know housing help is available.

“This is a 300 million public private partnership,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, “and when completed, 1,450 unit mixed used.”

Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge was in town and touring Miami-Dade’s Liberty Square Federal Housing Project, Tuesday, amid an affordable housing crisis across the country, and Miami has arguably become the epicenter.

“We have neglected to keep up with supply,” said Fudge, “and that is why we are at the point we are today.”

The Biden Administration’s visit came as the Sunshine State was named the least affordable in the country. Specifically in South Florida, home prices have sky rocketed. Surging rent has forced families out and the idea of home ownership has become even less of a possibility for so many.

Full article...

​​Tough ​time to buy​ a home

South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 6, 2022, Amber Randall

Booming home values have made the housing market challenging for buyers, but now rising interest rates are causing buyers to recalibrate which houses they can afford.

In South Florida, the average monthly mortgage payment for a new mortgage rose 61% compared to the year before as home prices rose and interest rates shot up, according to an analysis from Zillow.

The increase in South Florida is higher than how much mortgage payments increased on a national level. The average monthly payment for a home on a national level increased 50% when compared to a year ago.

Full article...​

​Housing p​rices ​not leveling off

South Florida Sun Sentinel, April 28, 2022, Amber Randall

The housing market in South Florida is experiencing some mixed signals:Housing prices continued to climb last month, reaching levels not seen in almost 15 years; rising interest rates, which hit 5.37% last week, so far don’t seem to have cooled the market. But there’s also been a slight bump in sellers dropping their prices.

Home prices reach their highest level since start of pandemic boom.

Housing prices in South Florida reached their highest level since the housing market took off two years ago, despite rising interest rates.

It was similar in Miami-Dade County: The median sale price rose to $540,000, a 10% increase from the year before.

Full article...​​

​Sou​th Florida rents surpass New Y​ork area

South Florida Sun Sentinel, April 27, 2022, Amber Randall

The South Florida region saw the highest rent increases in the country in the past year, with some rents more than doubling.

The median rent in the tri-county area jumped 57% from March 2021 to March 2022, according to the latest data from The region had the highest rent increases out of the 50 metro areas analysts studied, and makes South Florida’s median rent more expensive than even the New York metro area.

The current median rent in South Florida is $2,988, while a year ago, the overall median rent was $2,499. It has the fourth highest rent in the country, according to the study from

Full article...​​

Miami-Dade mayor declares housing affordability crisis

AP News, April 9, 2022, Business

The mayor of Miami-Dade County has declared a crisis in South Florida when it comes to housing affordability.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Friday said that Miami-Dade has become one of the most unaffordable places to live in the U.S. Rents in the county have jumped 30% in the past year.

That’s hurting working families and making it difficult for businesses to find and retain workers, she said.

Levine Cava also said mayors from the county’s 34 municipalities planned to meet up soon to discuss solutions to the housing affordability crisis.

Full article...​

​​Mia​mi-Dade ​​m​ayor announces solutions to housing affordability crisis​

Local 10 News, April 8, 2022, Amanda Batchelor, Hatzel Vela

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava held a press conference Friday to address the housing affordability crisis in the area, and announce actions her administration is taking to deal with the crisis.

According to the mayor’s office, rents in Miami-Dade County have increased more than 30% in just the last year, which is also making it harder for local businesses to find and retain employees.

The mayor started her speech by highlighting how resilient the community has been amid the coronavirus pandemic, adding that Miami-Dade has the most recovered economy in the country and people from around the nation and the world are flocking to the area to live.

“We are truly where the American dream is happening,” Levine Cava said, adding that unfortunately Miami-Dade has also become one of the most unaffordable places to live.

The mayor said she has declared a county-wide affordability crisis and has directed her staff to accelerate measures to address the crisis, beginning with providing an additional $13 million to the county’s emergency rental assistance program.​

Full article...

Home values shot up by $72,000 on a​​​verage in South Florida, dwarfing what many workers make in a year​

South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 30, 2022, Amber Randall

Homeowners saw their homes make more money than the typical salary in Florida, a new report from Zillow shows. 

Home values in South Florida on average grew by $72,000 in the course of a year, a higher increase than what the typical salary is in the area, according to a new report from Zillow. 

Wages increased by 6% over the past year in the South Florida area, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, while housing values have increased by at least 30%. ​

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​​Investors are gobbling up homes in South Florida like never before

South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 21, 2022, Amber Randall

Investor purchases of single-family homes shot up this year, bringing more competition for the average homebuyer in an already tense housing market.

Data from RedFin shows that investors bought anywhere between 16% and 27% of homes sold in South Florida during the fourth quarter of 2021. On a national level, they accounted for 18.4% of homes bought in that same time period, which is a record high.

According to RedFin, investors might be individuals, others are registered under LLCs and some are larger multinational private firms.

In West Palm Beach, 16.1% of homes sold in the fourth quarter went to investors, a 12% increase from the year before. In Fort Lauderdale, the number is 21%, a 44% increase from the year before.​

Full article...

​New home growth is still not enough

South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 16, 2022, Amber Randall

South Florida saw one of the highest booms in real estate development over the past decade, but it still hasn’t been enough to address the severe shortage of homes in the area.

New data shows that the tri-county area ranks number nine out of 50 metropolitan areas in terms of development. Storage Cafe, a division of Yardi Matrix which analyzes commercial real estate data, looked at the number of permits issued for single-family homes, multi-residential units, and the combined square footage for office, industrial and retail space to rank how active various areas have been in developing more housing units between 2012-2021.

In terms of residential real estate, the tri-county area issued 68,160 permits for single-family homes, and a total of 129,545 multi-family permits, data shows, ranking it 9th, behind metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Houston, New York and Phoenix.  Still not enough as housing market soars​.

Full article...

​​South Florida home p​​​​rices soar as inventory dwindles

South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 1, 2022, Amber Randall

South Florida home prices are soaring, and the number of available homes is shrinking, as buyers continue to struggle to find homes in today's market.

Sellers have the advantage in the market, and buyers are desperate to land a home in an environment where properties are being bought up in a matter of days, as home prices shoot up by 20% in some areas when compared to last year.

Full article...

​​Is rent control a possibility in S. Florida?

South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 20, 2022, Amber Randall

The rental market in South Florida is a battlefield right now, and there are plenty of casualties. Middle class renters are seeing their monthly payments go up as much as $1,000 a month. Some can pinch and make rent, others have to move. Still others are sleeping in their cars. The down-market ripple effect not only affects communities, it raises concerns over where South Florida’s workforce will live.With so many South Florida renters left vulnerable, it begs the question: is rent control possible here?

The state makes it difficult to cap rents. Municipalities must go through a long and complicated process to create any sort of control on rent, including proving that there is “a housing emergency so grave as to constitute a serious menace to the general public.” What exactly is a “menace to the general public”and what would it take for a local municipality to prove a housing emergency? 

Full article...​​

​​South Florida’s ​​​​rent crisis

Some no longer can afford their longtime homes as rents rise by as much as 40%

South Florida Sun Sentinel, 5 February, 2022, Amber Randall

Seventy-six-year-old Geraldine Engold found herself living out of a hotel, and it wasn’t by choice. She’d lost her lease on the $1,600-a-month apartment she’d been renting for six years, and the search for a safe, new home at the same price turned up nothing.

Her Coral Ridge landlord told her that he would not be renewing her lease for the upcoming year, leaving Engold hard-pressed to find another place to live, she said. 

When she started looking, she was shockedat how much rents had increased. Engold’s story is becoming more common in South Florida as landlords are raising rents by as much as 40% percent, and wages have only increased about 6%, according to new statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.As a result, renters are finding themselves forced out of places they’ve called home for years.

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​S. Florida needs more housing. Exactly​​ how much vacant land is left?

South Florida Sun Sentinel, January 24, 2022, Amber Randall

Very little vacant land is left for building homes in South Florida, but just how scarce are the options? As the region struggles with a housing shortage, the amount of vacant land zoned for residences is down to less than 1% in parts of the region.

There are only about 20 square miles, or less than 1%, of land that remains vacant and zoned for residential use. For perspective, Palm Beach County is 2,383 square miles. On top of that, those 20 square miles are fractured into hundreds of lots all over the place. It’s even worse in Broward County. Of the county’s 1,323 square miles, only 5 square miles, or less than 1%, remain vacant and zoned for residential use.

South Florida is in the midst of a real estate boom fueled in part by record low inventory and an influx of new residents. One of the most important factors in the housing shortage, however, is the scarcity of land on which to build. Developers are having a hard time finding vacant land zoned for residential commercial use, as each county is braced by the ocean on one side and the Everglades on the other.

Full article...

Data shows extent of rent surge

South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 9, 2021, Amber Randall

Rents in South Florida jumped more than 19% year over year, showing how expensive it’s becoming to live in the tri-county area, according to three different data sets.

Reports from CoStar Group, Zumper and Apartment List show that rents have only continued to rise as the rental market makes a comeback from the drop it experienced during the pandemic.

When compared to November rents from a year ago, Palm Beach County prices jumped 31% while in Broward County rents went up almost 22% and Miami-Dade County rents similarly rose about about 17%, according to data from CoStar Group, a provider of multi-family home real estate information.

Full article...

​South Florida’s a​ffordability crisis​​ is only getting worse. Here’s what it would take to fix it.

South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 13, 2021, Amber Randall

The housing crisis in South Florida has only grown worse over the past decade, and with most fixes taking years to implement, the lack of affordability could lead to negative effects on South Florida’s economy.

It’s a tale of ups and downs. During the real estate boom of 2005, affordability, defined as how much housing costs relative to income, in South Florida plummeted as housing prices rose, according to data from ATTOM Data, a provider of nationwide property data. After the housing crash, prices became more affordable before beginning to take a turn for the worse in 2012, growing steadily worse until now.

The main driver is a lack of overall supply in the market, followed by the forces that make it difficult to build more units in our area: lack of land, zoning policies, the permitting process, impact fees and overall funding for affordable housing.

Full article...​

​We know Miami rents are rising. Now w​e know where they rank nationally. Spoiler: Higher

Miami Herald, October 29, 2021, Rebecca San Juan

South Florida renters are already living in one of the priciest markets in the country. And, according to a new study, it’s only getting more expensive. The median rent rose by about 18% for the City of Miami, to $2,070 a month from $1,750 a month for one-bedroom units, over the last year, according to the October 2021 Zumper National Rent Report. Rents also jumped by 18% for two-bedroom units, to $2,730 a month from $2,310 a month, in that same time frame from October 2020 to October 2021.

The rent hike led to Miami ranking as the seventh city with the highest median rent for one bedrooms, up from its ninth slot last year. Fort Lauderdale followed the same trend line as Miami. Fort Lauderdale

ranks as having the 12th highest median rent for one bedroom units, falling two spaces below its rank from last year.

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​City Of Miami To ​Build Patria Y Vida Condos, S​​ell Them At Cost

Bisnow South Florida, October 21, 2021, Deirdra Funcheon

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and City Commissioner Joe Carollo announced Monday that the city will develop a 104-unit condominium and sell off its units at cost. The city is seeking a builder for the project, dubbed Patria y Vida.

Suarez said the project was spearheaded by Carollo, known for his outspokenness and strong ties to Miami's community of exiled Cubans. 

“Usually, we look for funds that we put in the hands of the private sector so that they are the ones who build affordable rental housing," Suarez said at a ceremony, according to Diario Las Americas. "Private developers bear all risk. In this case, we, the city, have taken more risk, but we are sure that we will obtain a better product for our residents at a better price." 

The condominium will be built at 1251 Southwest Seventh St. with one- and two-bedroom units. Suarez said on Twitter that there would be income restrictions for buyers. Sales contracts will have language preventing buyers from flipping the condos for huge profits. They will be allowed to sell their units, but only for slightly more than they paid, Diario Las Americas reports.

With proceeds from condo sales, the city could develop another such project, recoup costs, build another one and so on. Carollo said it could be a model for other cities.

"This is the first affordable homeownership project not only in the city of Miami but in the entire state of Florida," he said. 

Full article...​​​​​

​Increased interest in home​s built to rent

South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 2, 2021, David Lyons

It’s tough out there for would-be home buyers. Too many people chasing too few properties, and down payments that keep getting further out of reach. But here’s an idea whose time might have come: New homes built to be rented, not sold. And it’s catching on in Florida and other states around the U.S., with build-for rent programs gradually taking hold in overheated housing markets. One such development — a 39-unit townhome project in the lush Palm Aire section of Pompano Beach — is nearing completion. Its two-story homes are nicely appointed with a pool and clubhouse, small backyards, golf course views and smart technology that controls security, thermostats and other key functions. 

The project is being built by Stellar Communities of Dania Beach, and homes will rent from possibly $3,200 a month.

Full story...​​​

​​South Florida becoming the nation’s worst place to rent

South Florida Sun Sentinel, 16 September, 2021, Amber Randall

South Florida could become the worst place in the country for renters by the end of the year, partly because wages don’t keep up with exorbitant rent increases. a new forecast shows.

Renters here are likely to devote 40% of their income to rent by the end of the year, according to a forecast by Zillow, an online real estate marketplace that studies real estate trends.

That would be a full percentage point above June and well over the 30% that financial advisers prescribe.

Full article...​

​​​​Homebuyers should rent and​​​ wa​it out th​​​​e housing boom, experts say; high prices set a record in June

South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 22, 2021, David Lyons

Researchers are urging Florida homebuyers to consider renting while they wait for the state’s overheated market to cool as soaring prices in South Florida hit records in June.

Statewide, they say, homes are overvalued by 21.76%. creating a risk that buyers could get stuck with overpriced homes for significant periods of time until prices eventually ease.

The report found home prices in the Tampa area were the most inflated in the state, selling in June for a 32% premium, up from 28.53% in May. In South Florida, prices were 16.89% above their historical norms, with the Orlando area at 21.19%.

Even though monthly rents for apartments, condos and single-family homes are rising as well, they are not increasing at the pace of the home-buying market, said Eli Beracha of Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate in Miami. He said people searching for a home are better off renting and investing the money they would have spent on home ownership elsewhere.

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​​​Thousands in South Florida could face foreclosure with federal protection coming to an end

South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 11, 2021, Rafael Olmeda

Time is running out for thousands of South Florida families who are facing foreclosure on their homes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For some, the nightmare started more than a year ago but was stalled by willingness of government officials to prevent banks from forcing people out during an unprecedented public health crisis. The Trump administration and most states stopped foreclosure and eviction proceedings on federally backed loans back in April 2020, setting expiration dates for their protection that have repeatedly been extended as the COVID crisis continued.

For others, the pandemic kept the foreclosure process from legally beginning — the moratorium on foreclosures kept banks from initiating the lawsuits in the first place, giving homeowners time to catch up or work things out with their lenders.

Now the moratorium, which applies to federally backed, single family homes, is set to expire at the end of this month. It was scheduled to expire June 30 before the Biden administration stepped in and extended it one last time.

Full article...

​Saving up for a ​home in South Florida?

South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 11, 2021, Amber Randall

Soaring home prices mean the average renter in South Florida now needs 17 years to save up for a down payment to buy a house — far longer than many places in the country, a new analysis shows.

The average nationwide is a little over 13 years, according to Zillow, an online real estate marketplace.

Full article...

Soaring real est​​ate market is killing dreams of buying a home — and even squeezing renters

South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 26, 2021, Amber Randall

The dream of buying a home is fading for more people in South Florida as the hot real estate market sends prices soaring out of reach.

Just 18% of households in Palm Beach County can afford the median price of a home, according to an assessment by the Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University. The numbers are even bleaker to the south, where about 15% of Broward County households and 9% of Miami-Dade County can afford the median home price.

The situation is not much better for renters, who are struggling to write larger monthly checks, take on roommates or search for a cheaper place to live.

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​Re​nts are rising a​s homebuyers get priced out of the market

South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 13, 2021, Amber Randall​

Home shoppers who need a mortgage are finding it harder and harder to land a house when competing against buyers — many from out of state — who are offering huge amounts of cash. That’s driving many people to rent, which only drives rents even higher.

Average rents have increased almost 4% in South Florida in the past year, double the increase the year before. Rents could rise an additional 2.5% to 3.5% in the coming year, according to Ken H. Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University.​

​​‘We Can't Raise Rents Fast Enough’: South Florida Multifamily Market Soars (But So Do Costs)

Bisnow South Florida, June 2, 2021, Deirdra Funcheon

In South Florida, where the population is booming and homeownership is out of reach for many, multifamily developers have been able to command high rents in their fully leased apartment complexes. But building new projects is challenging because land is only available between the ocean and the Everglades, and savvy sellers are not letting go of their property easily.

“I can't buy stuff in this market. It's completely out of sorts, in my judgment,” Coral Rock Development Group principal Michael Wohl said during a Bisnow webinar regarding South Florida multifamily May 21.

Construction costs have jumped, and there’s no shortage of competitors in the industry. Amid these market conditions, several multifamily developers said they have been getting creative in all aspects of the business, from site selection to uses to joint ventures.

Full article...​

​​South Florida counties recei​​​ving $189 million more for rental assistance

South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 26, 2021, Ron Hurtibise

More federal assistance money has been approved for renters and landlords in South Florida even as counties struggle to distribute the $165 million they received in January.

Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties will receive another $189 million to help prevent eviction of tenants affected by the pandemic. But documentation requirements have been loosened for this latest round of funding, prompting advocates for low-income renters to hope money can be distributed more quickly.

The first round of funding was part of $25 billion approved by Congress and former President Trump in December. The latest round comes from another $21 billion approved in February as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan in March.

Eligibility requirements for the new funding will remain unchanged: Applicants’ household income cannot exceed 80% of the median household income for their areas. Applicants must demonstrate that they lost income or were hit by increased expenses because of the pandemic. And they must show a risk of becoming homeless if they do not receive help. Money can be applied to past-due rent dating back to March 2020.

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​​By the numbers: South Florida’s torrid housing market

South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 26, 2021, Amber Randall

New data shows just how tough it is to buy a home in South Florida.

The region has fewer homes for sale than anytime in the past three years; the median price has increased steadily for a year; and the houses are disappearing faster than anyone can remember, according to data from the Florida Realtors Association..

The trend has been evident for some time, but the Realtor data offers a new perspective.

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​​Can’t fin​​d a home to buy? More people are building instead

South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 22, 2021, Amber Randall

More people are choosing to build their own homes in South Florida as bidding wars push prices out of sight and existing homes remain scarce.

Sales for newly constructed homes have surged 113% compared with last year, according to Zonda Home, a market research company for the real estate industry.

It’s a shift escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a newly built home is seen as a simpler, less complicated option than buying an existing home.

In the current torrid market, buyers of existing homes often are forced into bidding against waves of transplants who are arriving with wads of cash. With new construction, a buyer picks a lot, usually for a fixed price, and can customize the home with a developer from there, explained Tim Costello, CEO of Builder Homesite.

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​​Past-due renters can now get money through the state of Florida

South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 18, 2021, Ron Hurtibise

Tenants who are behind on their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic now can apply for assistance through the state of Florida and possibly get money to their landlords more quickly than if they used a local program.

And that will be useful for many local renters because application portals for assistance programs run by Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are currently closed while workers process thousands of applications received so far.

The Florida Department of Children and Families began accepting rental assistance applications from tenants and landlords last week through its website,, and started processing them on Monday, according to the site.

Applicants without access to the internet can apply by phone by calling 833-493-0594.  

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​As h​​ome prices soar, some South Floridians flee to cheaper places

South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 17, 2021, Amber Randall

The rising cost of homes in South Florida is chasing some people to other parts of the state.

Some homeowners are cashing in at a profit and moving to more affordable spots like the Gulf coast or farther north on the eastern side, according to moving companies and real estate agents.

To be sure, thousands of people are still streaming into South Florida from the Northeast, Midwest and even California. Florida is expected to gain a little over 300,00 residents a year, according to estimations from the state’s Demographic Estimating Conference.

But Joseph Sabga, president of moving company Bekins South Florida in Fort Lauderdale, said he’s recently been moving more people from South Florida to Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Orlando and the northern parts of St. Lucie County.

Those type of moves are up 108% this quarter compared with the same time last year, at the height of the pandemic, he said.

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​​​​South Florida’s population growth slowed sharply last year as deaths surged and people moved away, Census data shows

South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 6, 2021, Aric Chokey

South Florida saw dramatic changes to its population trends in 2020 as COVID-19 led to more deaths than births and more people moved out of the area, according to annual data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The swing was most stark in Miami-Dade County, which saw its population decrease for the first time in at least a decade.

The figures come as part of the Census’s annual vintage population estimates, which calculate population based on deaths, births and net migration since the 2010 Census. The estimates are separate from the 2020 Census, the once-per-decade survey conducted last year.

While Miami-Dade, like South Florida’s other two counties, had seen its population growth slowing in recent years, in 2020 it joined several northern counties that saw negative growth in 2020. It’s the first time Miami-Dade’s population shrunk since at least the last Census in 2010.

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​It seems like everyone is moving to South Florida, but other places are even hotter

South Florida Sun Sentinel, April 25, 2021, Amber Randall

South Florida’s boiling real estate market isn’t the hottest in the nation — far from it.

Yes, prices are rising faster than they have in years. The median price for a home has grown by as much as 50% in some areas compared to the past year, and homebuyers fully expect a bidding war when they find a home.

But on a national scale, South Florida trails many metro areas in terms of inbound residents, rising home values and the number of days a home sits on the market.

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​​​Buyers flocking back to condos

South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 24, 2021, David Lyons

Condos are back in vogue in South Florida, lifted by the COVID vaccines, a dearth of homes for sale and a steady flow of migrants from out of state.

Buyers appear to be more comfortable again with tight multiunit living spaces. In Boca Raton, someone plunked down $10 million for a downtown penthouse that won’t be completed until next year. And some purchasers buy sight unseen — clinching deals after viewing their condo layouts virtua​lly.​​​

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Homebuyers face stiff competition in South Florida as northerners arrive — with cash

South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 1, 2021, David Lyons 

As homebuyers jostle for a dwindling supply of houses in South Florida, local bidders are finding themselves in a growing competition with out-of-state people who are offering cash on the spot.

Brokers are astounded by the increase in out-of-state inquiries pouring into their offices in Florida.

They describe how local buyers have lost out to COVID-driven buyers from New York and other northern states. Many callers on the other end of the line have a pile of cash ready — often the fruit of higher-priced house sales in their hometowns.

For the seller, “it’s a no-brainer — you go with the cash deal,” said Ken Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University. “That’s going to squeeze out locals using financing. You’ve got somebody else using cash.”

Couple that with a diminishing supply of homes to buy in South Florida, and the search for a new home “is getting tougher for everybody,” Johnson said. “Nationally the number of existing homes on the market has fallen off tremendously.

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Home prices are surging. And there’s no end in sight.

South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 23, 2021, David Lyons 

Homebuyers saw home prices exceeding 10% or more across South Florida during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as interest rates hit new lows and the numbers of houses for sale sharply dropped off.

The monthslong, rock-bottom interest rates coupled with the heavy demand for homes all fueled the push, experts say. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, even though South Florida home prices are well above their historical highs.​

Rental assistance update: Money coming soon to strapped tenants and landlords

South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 14, 2021, Ron Hurtibise

Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are finalizing details of how they plan to dole out millions of dollars to help prevent the eviction of thousands of renters who fell behind on their payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The counties plan to begin accepting applications and making payments within the next few weeks.

A spokesman for Gov. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, said the state will distribute $871 million through the Department of Children and Families instead of the 119 local governments that last year distributed $135 million in rent and mortgage assistance to more than 32,250 Florida households.

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Landlords and tenants will be offered help for past-due rent if they agree to mediation

South Florida Sun Sentinel, January 23, 2021, Ron Hurtibise

Renters facing evictions — and the landlords who want their past-due rent — might soon be invited to mediation. The prize if they agree to settle their differences: some of that money approved last month by the federal government to keep renters in their homes.

That’s how Broward County plans to distribute much of the $59 million in emergency rental assistance funding that the county received on Wednesday. It’s Broward’s share of $25 billion approved by Congress​ and the president last month as part of $900 billion in federal COVID-19 relief.​

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​Renters face rising prices in most South Florida cities. But not everywhere.

South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 28, 2020, David Lyons

If rents for November are any indication, people with an apartment search in mind could be facing rising prices in a majority of South Florida’s large cities.

But rents are cooling in several marquee markets such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami, a national survey shows.

A 37-city survey conducted by RentCafe showed rents for November declined a half percent in Fort Lauderdale to an average of $1,968, with Miami easing by 0.7% to $1,696. But in West Palm Beach, where out-of-town businesses are trolling for locations, and apartment projects are under way, rentals are up by 4.1% to $1,528 on average.​

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Buying a house in Miami is now more expensive than ever. Broward isn’t much cheaper.

​Miami Herald, November 19, 2020, Rebecca San Juan

South Florida outdid itself again. The median sales price for a single-family home in Miami hit $435,000 in October, surpassing last month’s median price of $425,000, a historical high.

The total number of existing home sales rose more than 16% in October 2020 compared to October 2019 sales in both Miami-Dade County and Broward, according to the Miami

Association of Realtors.

The total number of home sales was up more than 12% in September 2020 over September 2019 sales in both counties, the Realtors said. That follows a similar increase in August, which provided welcome relief after the four-month decline in previous months.


​Broward is getting a new $30M affordable housing project, thanks to two developers

Miami Herald, October 20, 2020, Rebecca San Juan

A new affordable housing community is in the pipeline for Broward County.

The Coral Gables-based development firms Coral Rock Development Group and the Paragon Group of Florida are building a $30 million affordable housing townhome complex, Highland Oaks, in Pompano Beach, according to a press release. The two-story rental community will have 138 townhouses and 305 parking spaces.

The project spans 10.75 acres at 921 NW Third Ave. Construction is anticipated to start in late 2020 and end by late 2021.


Miami-Dade is one storm away from a housing catastrophe. Nearly 1M people are at risk.

Miami Herald, October 08, 2020, Rene Rodriguez and Yadira Lopez 

As the tail end of one of the most active hurricane seasons in history nears, Miami-Dade County appears once again poised to emerge unscathed. The region dodged hurricanes and tropical storms that posed a potential threat to South Florida. But what will happen when our luck runs out?

Housing advocates have long feared that the city is one storm away from disaster; nearly a third of all housing structures in Miami-Dade County built before 1990 are at risk of wind damage, mold contamination and even complete devastation from a hurricane.

According to U.S. Census figures, nearly one million people could be left homeless in a worst-case scenario — the majority of them among the poorest of the county’s residents. 


Broward County Total Home Sales Rise in August 2020

Miami Realtors, September 22, 2020, Chris Umpierre

Broward County total home sales surged in August 2020, according to the MIAMI Association of Realtors (MIAMI) and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.

Broward County total home sales jumped 6.7% year-over-year, from 2,895 to 3,089. Broward single-family home sales jumped 16.4% year-over-year, from 1,436 to 1,672. Broward existing condo transactions decreased 2.9% year-over-year, from 1,459 to 1,417.

Strong demand coupled with limited supply continue to drive price appreciation in Broward.

Broward County single-family home prices increased 12.5% year-over-year in August 2020, increasing from $369,750 to $416,000. Existing condo prices increased 13.2% year-over-year, from $176,540 to $199,900.

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South Florida rents are declining as coronavirus chases tenants away from downtowns

Sun Sentinel, June 20, 2020, David Lyons

The coronavirus pandemic might be chasing people away from living on top of each other in apartments.

Rents are gradually declining, suggesting that tenants are looking elsewhere for room to work at home and stay healthy.

In 30 South Florida cities, the rent for 62% of one-bedroom units are either flat or declining, according to Zumper, a national apartment search firm. The percentage increases to 69% for two-bedroom prices.

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Fort Lauderdale Plans Crackdown On Homeless

Sun Sentinel, March 3, 2020, by Susannah Bryan

Ordinance aims to protect children.  The city that’s made a series of missteps over the years in attempting to corral the homeless has come up with a new way to protect its youngest residents from seeing things that their parents might not want them to see.  Homeless people would not be able to set up camp within 1,000 feet of a school or child care facility under a new law being considered by Fort Lauderdale.  The ordinance, which is up for a commission vote Tuesday, defines camping as dwelling temporarily on a sidewalk, alley or other public space while eating, sleeping or storing personal possessions.  The new law would not take effect until a final vote March 17.