Housing Affordability Is A Huge And Growing Challenge For Many Florida Communities

Municipal Policies, Racial and Economic Disparities Undermine Housing Affordability, Report Finds

Municipal policies and historical economic and racial disparities contribute to a lack of housing affordability in Florida cities, a report commissioned by the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) has found. The need for access to stable, affordable housing has become more apparent than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, and will remain a critical issue post-pandemic. The problem, however, is far from new, said FAA President Katie Wrenn, director of training and development for WRH Realty Services Inc.

“Housing affordability challenges are front and center in many Florida communities,” Wrenn said. “Sadly, decision-makers often don’t know where to start to address this complex issue. FAA’s leadership sought to study this issue in depth with the goal of shedding light on the specific factors that are driving the cost of rent across the state.”

While Florida has seen a surge of multifamily development in recent years, the number of new units has not come close to keeping pace with the state’s growing population. This report confirms Florida’s rental housing shortage and compounding factors at the local level fuel Florida’s housing affordability challenges.

Reach thousands of people throughout Central Florida.

FAA partnered with HR&A Advisors, a real estate and public policy consulting firm, to conduct the study, Drivers of Multifamily Costs and Affordability in Florida. The research focused on Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, and included an assessment of housing demand, interviews with housing developers, and evaluations of various local policies to determine the rent needed to make new apartment development viable in each metro region. The study identified four key factors driving apartment rents:

Rapid economic growth

Exclusionary zoning practices related to historical economic and racial disparities

Rising land and construction costs

Municipal policies

The report found that property tax increases, impact fees, project delays, and design review processes can increase rents by 12 to 17 percent. In addition, most residential land in Florida cities is zoned exclusively for single-family housing, which reinforces economic and racial disparities.

“As policy leaders wrestle with how to best address Florida’s housing affordability challenges, we must consider the cost drivers at the local level,” said FAA President-Elect Kimberly Maggard, senior vice president of operations for Royal American Management Inc. “The development process varies significantly from one jurisdiction to the next and can be quite unpredictable. State and local elected leaders can play an important role in addressing these barriers to construction, which will ultimately improve housing affordability and opportunity for all Floridians.”

The report encourages local governments to:

Remove zoning barriers.

Streamline the development approval process.

Commit local funding to preserve or incentivize the construction of affordable housing.

Support housing opportunities in traditionally disinvested areas.

The entire report can be viewed and downloaded from faahq.org/2020-housing-costs-study.

The Florida Apartment Association is a federation of associations representing and advocating the interests of the Florida multifamily rental housing industry.

SOURCE Florida Apartment Association

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire


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