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Ron Book Helps Against Soaring Rents in Miami

Ron Book

During the pandemic, Miami became the second city in the United States where housing is more expensive in relation to people’s income, second only to New York City, according to an analysis by real estate company Realtyhop.

This phenomenon occurs throughout Miami-Dade County, to the point that the city of Hialeah appears as the fifth least affordable city in the country.

Shared Concern

The concern about the price of housing in Miami is shared by millions of tenants in that city who, in a matter of months, have seen rental housing prices rise exorbitantly. Between February 2021 and January 2022, the average price of a 1-bedroom rental went from around $2,400 to about $2,800. Two-bedroom rentals jumped from $2,500 to $3,600, according to data provided by real estate agent Giselle Alfonso.

Alfonso points out that these increases are explained by the fact that demand far exceeds supply and the fact that Florida has no rent control legislation, so landlords can increase the price every year without any restrictions.

Beyond Miami

The increase in the demand for homes and, consequently, the price of housing has been a widespread phenomenon in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic. Many analysts see this phenomenon as a consequence of the fact that people have had to spend so much time at home because of confinement, as well as the forced adoption of remote work by many companies.

In 2021, home sales in the United States increased by 8.5%. In total, 6.12 million units were sold, the highest annual figure recorded since 2006, according to data from the National Real Estate Association of that country (NAR). The inventory of available houses was reduced in December to 910,000, the lowest number since 1999. The average price of single-family homes rose from $300,200 in 2020 to $362,000 in November 2021.

According to an analysis by the real estate company Realtyhop, a Miami middle-income household would have to allocate 77.5% of its resources to meet the costs of acquiring a home for the average cost in that city. The increase in housing also increases the number of homeless people, something that has already been seen in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Ron Book Weighs In

The long-time Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust Chairman, Ronald L. Book, said they have rehoused about 2,500 people since March 2020. “Miami-Dade County has been fighting to prevent and end homelessness,” he told BBC Mundo.

Miami’s new housing development is booming, but it can’t keep up with demand. Book noted that he and the Trust have been working extra hours to link landlords with possible renters and to coordinate the resources of the federal rescue plan to prevent evictions and retain people in their homes.

“We’ve avoided major evictions and have a low homeless population, but the scarcity of units and high rental market will continue to hurt us,” Book added.

The stress is palpable. Between July and September, his hotline received over 25,400 calls, of which 45% were from persons in urgent danger of homelessness. Families who aren’t at risk of being evicted but are nevertheless feeling the effects of rising housing costs are looking for innovative solutions. Ron Book and his team are working hard to find answers.

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