It’s no secret that Orlando is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis and has been for a long time. But even just the phrase “affordable housing” has become so commonplace that it’s easy for us to assume we know what we’re talking about. That’s why we’re digging into what exactly “affordable housing” means for Orlandoans, starting with this list of the most eye-popping stats that help add context to our housing debate.
So the next time you find yourself talking to someone about this booming city of ours, the increased rent, and the lack of income growth, think about throwing one of these five stats into the conversation.
- Rent for homes and apartments in the metro Orlando area is rising faster than any other big city in the country, according to this December Zillow report. The average rent increase across the U.S. was 0.5 percent over the last year, while Orlando-area rent increased by 4.4 percent during the same time. Why? Fewer homes and apartments are available for rent.
- The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $1,339 a month, according to internet listing service company RentCafe. Essentially, this means a minimum wage worker with a family needs to work almost three jobs just to afford their two-bedroom home.
- The average Orlando renter spends 31.5 percent of their income on rent, according to Zillow. And a household that spends more than 30 percent of its gross income on rent and utilities is considered cost-burdened, according to federal guidelines. If you spend more than half of your income on rent, you are considered extremely rent burdened.
- Despite these sobering statistics, fewer affordable housing units are being built. The Orlando metro area is just as bad as Los Angeles when it comes to the availability of affordable housing, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report. Both are tied for second worst in the country, offering only 17 affordable units per 100 extremely low-income renter households.
- The state receives money that they are supposed to spend on building more affordable housing. But the Orange County government received only $1.8 million of the $14.4 million promised from the federal housing trust fund to spend on affordable housing for its low-income residents, according to the Florida Housing Coalition.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking into how the shortage of affordable housing in Orlando impacts our quality of life and identify potential solutions to fix this serious problem.
As always, we encourage you to share your questions and concerns about housing in Orlando. What do you want to know? Head here to tell us what’s on your mind.