Florida Rental Rates Soar While Residents Fight Affordability

Gayle Kurtzer-Meyers

Florida housing rental rates continue to soar.Photo bychris robertonUnsplash

A national rent study identified Florida housing rentals as overvalued.

Florida, the Sunshine State, is always a crowd-puller for its stunning sunny beaches, warm climate, and drastically growing job market. Similarly, cultural diversity, job opportunities, and lower cost of living make Florida a popular destination for retirees and young professionals. However, if you are also searching for a place to live in this state, there is some troubling news for you. According to a recent rental study, a staggering increase of up to 29% in rental rates has significantly caused competition for affordable housing.

Following Florida's rental housing market trends, this state is the most overvalued in the country and will continue to soar. By the end of 2022, the median rent price was $1,266, which surprisingly elevated to $1,635, marking an increase of 29% at the beginning of 2023.

All types of housing rentals are on the increase.Photo byIvan Samkov: for pexels.com

A household is considered cost burdened if gross rent costs exceed 30% of its income. Considering this figure, Florida housing rental costs are severely cost-burdened, as renters pay 40% or more of their household income on rent. Undoubtedly, Florida will remain overvalued and unaffordable for many consumers and lower-earning Floridians in 2023.

Waller, Weeks and Johnson rental Index report

A monthly reporting project, Waller, Weeks, and Johnson Rental Index, is modeled to find each metropolitan area's rental housing market trend. Co-produced by the Florida Atlantic University Real Estate Initiative, the Alabama Center for Real Estate at the University of Alabama, and the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance of Florida Gulf Coast University worked together using Zillow's Observed Rent Index to track back the rent rates in the Sunshine State. While comparing the history of rents with current rents, they declared Florida rental market as overpriced and overvalued.

According to the Index, the average monthly rent nationwide is $1,927, 9.11% more than expected. Shelton Weeks, the report's co-author, regretted that this rate is incredibly painful for middle-class budgets.

“I’m not shocked that rents went up. I am shocked by how much they went up.” - Ken H. Johnson, Real estate Economist with Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business -

10 Florida markets are among the most overpriced in the Nation

On June 6, the National Rent Study of the rental housing market found that 10 of the 14 most-overvalued rental markets in the country are in Florida. Yet, shockingly, these Florida markets appeared to be overrated by 13%.

According to the National Study of 107 rental markets, the most significant year-over-year increase in rental costs was in the Fort Myers area in Florida. The average rent in December was $2,251.39, approximately 17.85 percent more than renters paid in November.

Hurricane Ian hit Florida's Southwest Gulf Coast side hard, increasing rental rates.Photo byDenys KostyuchenkoonUnsplash

The latest data collected in June identified 9 of the top 15 cities with the highest premiums in the Sunshine State. The figures below indicate the percentage of how high the rents are over what they should be and the current average rental rates.

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach | 22.07% | $2,846
  • Sierra Vista, Arizona | 21.87% | $1,283
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton | 18.68% | $2,331
  • Fort Myers | 18.09% | $2,073
  • Tampa | 16.91% | $2,055
  • Knoxville, Tennessee | 16.32% | $1,601
  • Killeen, Texas | 16.15% | $1,397
  • Port St. Lucie | 16.01% | $2,266
  • Lakeland | 15.17% | $1,808
  • Daytona Beach | 14.15% | $1,788
  • Phoenix, Arizona | 13.89% | $1,911
  • Jacksonville | 13.49% | $1,748
  • Orlando | 13.48% | $1,999
  • Melbourne | 13.04% | $1,88
  • Las Vegas | 13.00% | $1,851

What is causing the rental cost in Florida to skyrocket?

You may have heard of the general economic principle that prices increase when demand exceeds supply. The same rule highlights the drastic increasing trend of the rental housing market in Florida. The rental study by economists has enlightened some of the reasons behind the stall in rental rates. Here are the primary reasons that I have encountered.

The influx of people moving into Florida

Like everyone else, you may also be fascinated by the beautiful weather, cultural diversity, lower cost of living, and zero-income tax policy of Florida State. This state continues to attract new residents more than any other country. For instance, welcoming about 808 new residents per day, Florida is the fastest-growing population in the United States. Ken H. Johnson, an expert on the housing industry, blames the heavy influx of people moving into Florida on a shortage of housing inventory. He claimed that the demand for accommodation creates a lack of available housing, which drives up rental costs.

The pending number of evictions has pushed rental rates upward.Photo byAllan VegaonUnsplash

National Moratorium on rental evictions during COVID-19

Johnson mentioned in his analysis of the U.S. housing market that the federal government's national moratorium on rental evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is also a significant cause of the steady rent rise in the Florida housing market.

"During 2020, rentals in most of the country were undervalued because they were leasing below the long-term trend. But the expiration of the moratorium, combined with strong demand for rentals, particularly in Florida, sent rental rates soaring. Until more rental units are built, landlords will continue to raise rates, pricing out many middle-class consumers who previously turned to rent because they couldn't afford to buy." He said.

Inflation hit tenants hard.

Of course, inflation contributed to the increase in rental and mortgage costs. A detailed study of the Consumer Price Index shows housing costs were the prominent factor resulting in the monthly cost increase of all items. "It's going to be hard to say 'we've got inflation under control' if you still have shelter costs continuing to march higher," said Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo. According to the real estate analytics providers, the rents of houses went up 0.8% per month. Nationwide, the average rent for a single-family home rose 5.7% from a year earlier. Therefore, because of boosted national inflation levels, Florida remains a national leader regarding overpriced housing.

Hurricane Ian worsens Florida's housing crisis.

Ph.D. of Florida Gulf Coast University's Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance, Shelton Weeks, holds Hurricane Ian responsible for the increase of rental prices burdens the budgets of Floridians. Shelton noted that Hurricane Ian destroyed many houses, accommodations, and property in the disastrous storm; this led to the limited supply of apartment homes, which caused the housing rental costs to accelerate upward. While addressing a conference, she said, "The market already had a limited supply of units, so it is not shocking to see rents in December jump in Cape Coral. However, there is still a large gap to close before the rental market in Southwest Florida normalizes."

Overvalued rental rates

Johnson said he expects rising rental prices will cause changes in rental housing trends, including:

  • As a result, three generations of families will live in the same rental units.
  • College students will be taking on additional roommates and cutting back on eating out.
  • Greater use of manufactured homes as rentals.
  • Middle-class families will compromise on their needs, such as health care or insurance.
  • People live farther from their workplaces to seek affordable housing.

“Rentals are based on supply and demand. The supply is very short, and the demand is very high. It is strictly a supply and demand issue, and I see nothing on the horizon that will affect the supply side shortly,”- Andre Barrett, Realtor

What should you do in a rental crisis?

Renting or buying a home in Florida is complicated due to high housing costs.

“Mortgage rates continue to tick down and, as a result, home purchase demand is thawing from the months-long freeze that gripped the housing market,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist,-

In contrast, the majority (about 70%) of Florida renters are cost-burdened, spending 30% to 50% of their monthly income on rent, according to Florida Tax Watch. Therefore, considering expert advice, purchasing a home might be a better option if you want to settle in Florida. However, you should consider personal preferences, future goals, and financial situation first.


In conclusion, the high rental costs in Florida have become a significant issue for renters across the state. However, renters can still find affordable housing in Florida by exploring different options and being persistent. According to the Waller, Weeks, and Johnson Rental Index, the average rent price escalated from $1,266 to $1,635, marking an increase of 29% in 2023. The property expert and realtors consider the drastically growing population of Sunshine State as a significant factor for the overvalued rental housing market. Unfortunately, many young families are in a rental crisis with no easy way out. There are some solutions you can take to cope with the overpriced rents of your house. However, quick fixes don't exist.

“It most likely will be harder than ever to acquire materials and labor at reasonable prices, which will definitely exacerbate rental issues in this area of the state,” -Shelton Weeks, a real estate expert at Florida Gulf Coast University-

This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered financial, insurance, real estate, or legal advice. The market fluctuates; therefore, not all information will remain the same. Consult an attorney before making significant decisions.

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I am a Licensed Community Association Manager for the State of Florida and a published author. My top articles are about Florida RE, property management, and the many beautiful venues and activities available in the Sunshine State. Thank you for reading my work and joining me on the journey.

Kissimmee, FL

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