Federal housing vouchers fail to keep up with rising rents: report

In Miami, less than 4% of two-bedroom units are listed below the fair market rent set by HUD

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

Low-income renters who depend on vouchers are feeling the strain of rising rents, especially in Miami-Dade County.

A new study from Zillow shows that federal housing vouchers are too low for most of South Florida and at least half of the nation’s largest counties.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s voucher program is meant to provide renters with enough funding to afford 40 percent of the listings in their market.
Miami is one of the most unaffordable markets for renters in the U.S. Since 2012, apartment rents in South Florida rose between 12 percent and 23 percent, according to Zillow.

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In Miami, less than 4 percent of two-bedroom units are listed below the fair market rent set by HUD. In Broward, it’s about 20 percent and in Palm Beach, nearly 30 percent of two-bedrooms are listed below the fair market rent, according to the study.

If HUD’s voucher program continues to fall behind market rents, it could have big implications for affordability in the U.S.’s top markets. A 5 percent increase in rent in New York City, for example, would lead to about 3,000 more homeless people, Zillow found. In Los Angeles, the homeless population would grow by 2,000 people.

A report released earlier this year found that rents rose annually in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in June. In Miami-Dade, rents were up 8.8 percent in the second quarter, year-over-year, to nearly $1,450 a month. In Palm Beach County, rents increased 3.5 percent to just over $1,500. And in Broward’s major cities, rents budged by only 0.6 percent to $1,474.