Rents skyrocket in Florida, other Sun Belt markets

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

Rents are up more than 30% in Florida markets and more than 20% in Arizona, New York City and Las Vegas as rising housing prices are felt across the country.

An analysis by Florida Atlantic University found rents increased the most since last April in Fort Myers (32.4%), Miami (31.7%) and Sarasota/Bradenton (30.9%).

Florida cities (including Tampa, Port St. Lucie, Lakeland, Orlando and Melbourne) make up eight of the ten highest increases in rental prices for apartments and homes, according to the university’s analysis.

Rents in Miami and Fort Lauderdale average $2,846 per month, according to FAU. In Tampa, rents average more than $2,000 per month.

Sierra Vista, Arizona saw the fourth highest year-over-year rent increase. The average rent in the southern Arizona market is $1,283 — up 27.5%, according to April data from FAU.

Rents in Sierra Vista, which is home to Fort Huachuca U.S. Army base and military intelligence and drone operations, rose 6% the past month — the most of any city.

Rents in Phoenix average $1,911 per month and are up 21.6% in one year. That ranks as the 14th highest annual rent increases.

Increased rents in traditionally less expensive Sun Belt markets such as Florida and Arizona are stressing households also facing record-high gasoline prices and 40-year highs with inflation.

“For some people, renting was the only way they could afford to live in Florida, and now that’s becoming a burden, too,” said Ken Johnson, an economist at Florida Atlantic’s College of Business. “I think you’ll see more renters take on roommates and cut back on eating out because it’s either that or they won’t be able to pay the rent.”

FAU economists worked with researchers at the University of Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast University on the rental research report.

The average rent for housing in the U.S. stands at $1,927 — up 16% in the last 12 months.

Four markets — San Jose, San Francisco and Ventura California along with New York City have average rents of more than $3,000 per month.

New York has seen a 20.5% jump in housing prices since last year, according to the universities.

“Depending on the market, some rents may be stabilizing, but they’re still much higher than they were a year or two ago,” said Sheldon Weeks, a real estate professor who is also with FGCU’s Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance. “It’s incredibly painful for middle-class budgets.”

Youngstown, Ohio and Wichita, Kansas had the lowest average rents — $853 per month and $937 per month — among the 107 U.S. markets analyzed.

Those were the only two U.S. markets with rents averaging under $1,000 per month. Rents average more than $2,000 per month in 20 markets.

“The way out of this is to add more rental units to the marketplace,” said Waller, a University of Alabama economist who is also with the Alabama Center for Real Estate. “But it’s just not realistic to expect a bunch of new projects in the near term, given the supply chain problems and the often slow pace of government approvals facing developers before they can put a shovel in the ground.”

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