President Biden Announces New Actions to Ease the Burden of Housing Costs
The White House, May 16, 2022, Statements and Releases
President Biden is releasing a Housing Supply Action Plan to ease the burden of housing costs over time, by boosting the supply of quality housing in every community. His plan includes legislative and administrative actions that will help close America’s housing supply shortfall in 5 years, starting with the creation and preservation of hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units in the next three years. When aligned with other policies to reduce housing costs and ensure affordability, such as rental assistance and downpayment assistance, closing the gap will mean more affordable rents and more attainable homeownership for Americans in every community. This is the most comprehensive all of government effort to close the housing supply shortfall in history.
Housing prices 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.
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 realtor.com. 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 realtor.com.
Route Fifty, April 22, 2022, Andre Claudio
Stable, affordable housing can benefit people with low incomes while also boosting local economies, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
Alexandria, Virginia, a city of about 158,000 residents in the Washington, D.C. area, lost 78% of its market-rate affordable units between 2000 and 2020, according to the study. The group predicts that the city will need an additional 13,600 housing units to accommodate household growth from 2015 to 2030, mostly for middle- and low-income households.
Affordable housing can reduce homelessness, lift people out of poverty, improve health outcomes and youth educational outcomes, long-term earnings and reduce the possibility of adult incarceration, the report states.
Retiring to a hard life on the streets
Associated Press, April 11, 2022, Anita Snow
Karla Finocchio’s slide into homelessness began when she split with her partner of 18 years and temporarily moved in with a cousin.
She planned to use her $800-a-month disability check to get an apartment after back surgery. But she soon was sleeping in her old pickup protected by her German Shepherd mix Scrappy, unable to afford housing in Phoenix, where median monthly rents soared 33% during the coronavirus pandemic to over $1,220 for a one-bedroom, according to ApartmentList.com.
Finocchio, 55, is one face of America’s graying homeless population, a rapidly expanding group of destitute and desperate people 50 and older suddenly without a permanent home after a job loss, divorce, family death or health crisis during a pandemic.
“We’re seeing a huge boom in senior homelessness,” said Kendra Hendry, a caseworker at Arizona’s largest shelter, where older people make up about 30% of those staying there. “These are not necessarily people who have mental illness or substance abuse problems. They are people being pushed into the streets by rising rents.”
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.
Miami-Dade mayor 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.
Florida lawmakers raid $100M from affordable housing for program that doesn't exist
Orlando Sentinel, April 3, 2022, Jeffrey Schweers
In the midst of a statewide housing crisis, the Florida Legislature swept $100 million out of a nationally respected affordable housing rental assistance program for low-income families into a home-buying program that exists in name only.
Affordable housing advocates say the Legislature broke a promise made only a year ago that it would never again raid the Sadowski Affordable Housing Act fund, created in 1992 as a dedicated source of revenue to finance affordable housing programs.
Home values shot up by $72,000 on average 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%.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 23, 2022, Amber Randall
Rents have risen so much in South Florida that renters are now overpaying by more than 18%, according to a newly released index.
Researchers at three Florida colleges – Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University and Longwood University – analyzed rents since 2014 and used this data to predict where rent prices should be for renters. They then compared that number to today’s current rents. From there, they calculated the percentage difference to see how much renters are overpaying in rent.
Based on what past leasing histories suggest, South Floridians are paying 18.98% more than they should be, researchers found.
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.
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.
Broward planning new rental apartments for low-income families
South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 1, 2022, Lisa J. Huriash
More than 1,000 new apartments will be built across Broward to help low-income families — with rents expected to range from $700 to $1,850 a month.
The county will help subsidize the developments because otherwise they may never be built. County officials say without the financial help, housing only could become harder to find. The situation is “getting worse by the day,” said Ralph Stone, the county’s director of the Housing Finance Division.
South Florida home prices 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.
A Look at U.S. Efforts To Encourage ADU Production
PD&R Edge, February 22, 2022, Featured Article
Housing advocates and policymakers have grown increasingly interested in accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or “granny flats” — small units of housing built inside, attached to, or on the same property as a primary residence — as an important strategy for increasing housing supply. In recent years, jurisdictions such as California have removed regulatory barriers to ADU construction to address high housing costs stemming from inadequate housing production. On February 1, 2022, the White House convened a virtual discussion aimed at identifying strategies to make ADU construction easier. Panelists discussed the role of ADUs in increasing the supply of affordable housing, described efforts from across the nation to streamline the ADU permitting and construction process for homeowners, and examined ways to make ADU financing more accessible.
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?
Florida will issue $676M in mortgage assistance
South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 17, 2022, Ron Hurtibise
There’s good news and bad news for Florida homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments because of the pandemic.
The good news is the U.S. Treasury Department on Feb. 9 approved Florida’s plan to distribute $676 million in federal homeowner assistance funding included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan enacted in March 2021. Florida submitted its plan for approval as required six months ago, on Aug. 20.
The not-so-good news: Florida’s program is being administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity — the same agency that runs the state’s troubled unemployment system — and the agency has not yet announced when or how it will begin accepting applications.
Some no longer can afford their longtime homes as rents rise by as much as 40%
South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 5, 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.
Florida receives another $740 million for rental assistance. Here's how you can apply.
Orlando Sentinel, February 3, 2022, Kate Santich
Florida has received an additional $740.4 million from the federal government for its emergency rental assistance program, OUR Florida, state officials announced Thursday.
To qualify for the program, renters must be low income or unemployed and be behind on rent or utility payments ---or at risk of falling behind. They also must have had a loss of income or other financial hardship during the last year.
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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.
Relief or ‘poor tax’? Companies offer an alternative to apartment security deposits for Florida renters.
Orlando Sentinel, January 20, 2022, Skyler Swisher
As rents skyrocket, startup companies are touting what they consider to be a helpful solution to hefty security deposits pricing Floridians out of apartments. Instead of forking over an upfront security deposit, tenants can agree to pay a monthly fee — typically about $25.
But there’s a catch: The money isn’t refundable at the end of the lease like a traditional security deposit, and renters are still on the hook for damage beyond ordinary wear and tear. State lawmakers are considering legislation that would create regulations for such agreements that offer security deposit insurance instead of a traditional lump-sum deposit.
But advocates for Florida tenants have concerns. They say the proposed regulations lack important safeguards to protect renters from predatory practices.