Orlando area renters need to earn at least $34,000 to afford a studio apartment

click to enlarge Orlando area renters need to earn at least $34,000 to afford a studio apartment
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For lower and middle class families, Orlando is now a terrible place to both buy a home and also rent a home.

According to a report released Friday from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, Metro Orlando home sales sank by 11.4 percent last month, compared to this time last year. Home sales actually dipped by a whopping 12.7 percent in Orange County and 17.1 percent in Seminole County.

Despite plenty of buyers, not enough people are selling their homes in the metro Orlando area and this is partially because what's being sold is overvalued. No one wants to sell because they don't want to overpay for a new place to live.

And, since housing markets and rental trends are deeply connected, this new report is also very bad news for Orlando renters. At the moment, almost half of Orlando's population are renters – 46 percent, to be exact – and according to a new study released yesterday from the nonprofit National Low-Income Housing Coalition, these renters need to make at least $33,960 a year to afford a studio apartment.

"A full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 needs to work approximately 122 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, or approximately three full-time jobs, to afford a two-bedroom rental home at the national average fair market rent," says the report. "The same worker needs to work 99 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, or approximately two and a half full-time jobs, to afford a one-bedroom home at the national average fair market rent."

Florida's minimum wage is a staggeringly low $8.25 an hour, which comes out to $17,160 annually before taxes, based on a 40-hour week. This means the most a minimum wage employee can afford for rent on a monthly basis is a measly $439.

Good luck with that.

According to the study from the NCIHC, a worker in Orlando needs to make at least $16.33 an hour to be able to afford a studio apartment and not be considered "rent burdened," which essentially means you spend the majority of your check on rent rather than food, utilities, healthcare, transportation, savings, etc.

For those of you arguing that minimum wage jobs aren't meant to be long term, take note that last quarter, Orlando's job growth was led by low-paying service gigs. Sorry, but these jobs aren't being worked by teens living at home.

One of two things needs to happen: Either Florida's minimum wage must drastically increase or Orlando needs to start providing more affordable housing. Right now the Orlando area currently ranks second to worst in the country for available affordable housing units, at 17 for every 100 people, and this is just getting embarrassing. 


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