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As housing prices soar, rent hikes are expected across the Big Bend

An under-supplied housing market could be to blame
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Posted at 11:21 PM, Mar 22, 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — With the cost of housing going up, wages are not. That's leading to problems for people who moved to the Big Bend in hopes of a more affordable life.

"If you're going to increase rent you've got to increase wages as well."

Rolex Saint-Preux lives in Tallahassee, goes to FAMU, and his apartment rent has just gone up.

"It's Tallahassee this isn't South Florida that's why I didn't want to stay in South Florida because it would be more affordable to work and go to school here."

According to Florida Realtors, the median sale price of a home in the state is over $381,000. That's up 21% from last year.

As prices soar for buyers, landlords who already own are starting to squeeze their tenants and raise their rents.

"I think it can be a very demoralizing thing if you don't have the extra 5, 6, 7 hundred dollars whatever it is they're seeking to charge in excess of what their original price was so I would say a lot of folks are really struggling."

Mary Rose Whitehouse is a staff attorney at Legal Services of North Florida. She says Florida landlords can raise rents as high as they want. The state does not regulate the private rental market. She says her clients are...

"Forced to either relocate or face eviction proceedings if they're having trouble finding a place to relocate due to the affordable housing shortage."

So why are housing prices so high?

According to Joe Manausa Real Estate, the housing market is grossly under-supplied. Normally, a 6-month supply of homes causes an annual appreciation of home values at around 3%.

Right now, we're at a 2-month supply causing home values to soar over 20% over the last 2 years.

So why not build more?

The cost of materials has surged 30% higher in the last year alone. Land is more expensive, and pandemic supply-chain issues are slowing construction down.

Leaving people like Rolex worried about the future…

"I don't think that that's fair to anybody."

If you are facing an eviction from increased rent, Legal Services of North Florida says to act quickly because if you don't respond the landlord can win the case by default.

Legal Services of North Florida is also hosting a free clinic about rental assistance.