Struggling to pay rent in Florida? Some cities may be cheaper than others

Malinda Fusco

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It's no secret that Florida is a popular place to live. It's not only for beach-lovers and retirees nowadays either. Families, thrill-seekers, and even just the seasonal snowbirds are moving to Florida in droves. However, one big downside is that the rent is climbing and fast.

This article takes a look at Florida's growth, the rental market, and what places are still affordable in Florida.

Florida's Growth: An Explosion of Relocations to the Sunshine State

Florida has recently undergone a lot of new developments, including a huge influx of new people from other states. In fact, between January 2020 and April 2021, Florida has seen over 555,000 new people who moved here from other states. That information is obtained by the number of people who have switched their driver's licenses over from other states to Florida in that timeframe. So, therefore, that's not accounting for any people who haven't documented their move properly.

The spike of new movers happened around when Florida was loosening its pandemic restrictions, and other states were still more restrictive. Coincidence? Dr. Neto from Florida Gulf Coast University's Regional Economic Research Institute doesn't think so.

“Florida is one of those desired states. I think with the pandemic, it just really accelerated that process."

With this huge population increase, the housing and rental market has been understandably strained.

"An unaffordable market"

Although a lot of places in Florida are plagued by increasing rent, South Florida is by far the most affected, according to many data analyst experts. One expert, Nicole Bachaud, who runs data analysis for Zillow, called it an "unaffordable rental market."

“It’s going to become the most unaffordable rental market in the country as the end of the year comes as rent prices and renters’ incomes are unable to keep up."

Apparently, financial experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your income on rent. However, a Zillow forecast states that renters in South Florida are likely to spend 40% of their income on rent by the end of 2021. That's a significantly higher amount and makes rent that much more unaffordable, as Nicole points out.

In August, the average rent was $2,432, which is a 27% increase from August of last year.

So what cities are good options for renters?

According to some data pulled by Home Snacks, Florida may be expensive in some areas, but there are other cities that won't deal a blow to your wallet. So, what cities do they recommend as affordable for Florida residents?

The top three are:

Live Oak, Florida

Population: 6,890

Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $750

The price for the rent hasn't really changed much since last year in Live Oak, Florida. Furthermore, the housing market prices homes in the area at $110,000. This Florida city is located in Suwannee County in northern Florida.

Fort Meade, Florida

Population: 6,104

Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $575

According to Zumpter, only 22% of the population is renting in Fort Meade, Florida. This Florida city is located in Polk County, Florida and is the oldest city in Polk County.

Quincy, Florida

Population: 7,334

Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $716

Quincy is located in Gadsden County, Florida. It is northwest of Tallahassee.

Do you live in any of these cities? If not, did you see a spike in rent in your city? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

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