South Florida’s working households hardest hit by housing costs, research center data shows

Maya Brennan
Maya Brennan

South Florida tops metro areas in the U.S. where working families are under the most strain from housing costs, according to a Center for Housing Policy report.

In 2011, 41.2 percent of working households in the tri-county region, including renters and owners, spent more than half their incomes on housing costs, the report said.

Despite falling mortgage interest rates and home prices far below peak levels, a robust rental market and anemic salary growth are keeping housing costs in proportion to income high in South Florida.

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The Los Angeles metro area was second behind South Florida, with 39 percent of working households facing a housing crunch. New York and Orlando were tied for third at 35 percent and San Diego was fifth at 34 percent.

“It’s stretching people’s paychecks quite thin,” Maya Brennan, co-author of the report, told the Sun-Sentinel. “When you’re spending more than 50 percent of your income on housing, you start to have more difficulty affording health care and food.”

The percentage of South Florida households with severe housing cost burden rose from 40.1 percent in 2008 to 41.2 percent in 2011, the report said. [Center for Housing Policy]Emily Schmall