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Half of Pay Goes to Housing for Many Orlando Renters

Posted News, Press Room in on

In the Orlando metro region 30 percent of renters, more than 90,000, spend the majority of their paychecks on rent and utilities, according to a new study released by the nonprofit makeroomusa.org.

Florida leads the nation in the level of “cost-burdened” renters feeling the pinch of spending at least half their income on housing costs, a new study shows.

Michael Wofford, a flight attendant who lives in the Lake Nona area, said he had to go to the expense of downsizing from a two-bedroom unit to an apartment with one bedroom in July after his landlord tried to increase the rent from $1,135 to $1,390.

Beyond the rents, landlords increasingly charge new fees. In its marketing materials, Camden notes that it welcomes up to two pets per apartment as long as renters paid a nonrefundable pet fee and added monthly rent. Margaret Wofford recently had to start paying $10 a month so her dog Chloe could live with her.

The plight of renters appears to be more challenging than that of homeowners for Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties. Throughout the four-county region — home prices increased about five times more than wages during the last year. Lake County homeowners spent 38.9 percent of their income on their mortgage during the first quarter, Central Florida’s only county to exceed the national average of 36.5 percent, according to a new report by RealtyTrac.

“Between stagnant wages and the shortage of affordable rental inventory, Floridians pay some of the most unaffordable — and continuously rising — rents in the country,” she said.

Particularly hard hit are renters under age 35. About 31 percent of renters that age in Florida pay most of their income to providing shelter. In comparison, less than 25 percent of renters ages 50 and older pay such a large share of their income for those housing costs.

Of Florida’s top 10 metropolitan areas, Miami ranked top with 36 percent of renters considered “cost burdened.” Volusia County and the four-county Orlando region of Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties came next with about 30 percent of renters in that financially challenged situation. And Brevard County followed with 28 percent.

Read the complete article in the Orlando Sentinel as it appears on October 6, 2015

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