Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Renting a Home Just Feels Pricier | Census Data Shows Little Change in Median Rent

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Renting a Home Just Feels Pricier | Census Data Shows Little Change in Median Rent

Article excerpt

CENSUS DATA

Fresh Census Bureau data shows that residential rent in most of Florida, including Southwest Florida, actually went down a notch during the past five years, when adjusted for inflation.

But don't let that stop you from becoming a landlord.

Your rental income future is bright, "simply because you have seven million former homeowners who are now renters, because of the housing crisis, and five million millennials who are deferring home ownership for a variety of reasons, who are instead choosing to rent," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at real estate data provider RealtyTrac Inc.

In 26 Florida counties, including most of the heavily urbanized metropolitan areas and all of Southwest Florida, residential rent actually declined when adjusted for inflation, according to the Census Bureau's newly released American Community Survey. The data covers 2010-2014 and allows comparisons with the five previous years, 2005-2009. That means that the data bridges the Great Recession, which hit Florida early and stayed late, blanketing the state with economic pain roughly from 2007 through 2011.

Adjusted for inflation, Sarasota County rents hardly budged over the 10-year span of the survey. At the end of 2014 the median rent was $1,008, down $98 from the 2009 Census survey.

But Sarasota County is still one of the more expensive places in the state to rent a house, one of the 15 counties where rents stand at $1,000 per month or more as of the end of 2014. In Collier, home to Naples, the median 2014 rent is $1,027. In Palm Beach County, the median rent for the latest five years is $1,158. Broward County, home to Fort Lauderdale, was even more expensive overall, at $1,158 per month.

"I can't remember a time when rents were as high as they are now," said Scott Corbridge, founder and president of Sarasota Management and Leasing, which manages about 300 annual unfurnished home and condominium rentals. "It has actually accelerated during the past year."

Affordable housing has been a huge debate in the region. The availability of homes and apartments within the means of typical families now flirts with historic lows -- a consequence of Southwest Florida's prolific turnaround from the economic downturn. …

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