Contextualizing Florida’s Workforce Housing Crisis
By: Kyle Baltuch, SVP of Equality of Opportunity, Florida Chamber Foundation
I want to you take a moment to pause and think about the statement “affordable housing.” While the topic has dominated national and state headlines for quite a while now, many still struggle to grasp the true state of our challenge and its wide-ranging effects.
Let’s start by considering a real-world example playing out in Florida. In June of 2022, the median sales listing for a residential property in Florida was $498,500. While this figure notes a 28% increase over last year, it also marks the largest figure since the Federal Reserve of St. Louis began tracking the data.
This doesn’t just make affordability impossible for families facing poverty, it makes housing affordability a crisis for the working class across the state.
To demonstrate this, we looked at what income a household would need to realize to afford a home priced at $498,500. Using NerdWallet’s Mortgage Income Calculator, and data from the lender Rocket Mortgage, which outlined that the typical American puts down roughly 6% as a down payment for a home, we found that the recommended pre-tax income to consider this price affordable was $136,308, while the model stated a lender “might still qualify you” if your annual income was $123,120.
Although shocking, it still doesn’t contextualize who could afford a home under these circumstances. The answer, only a small percentage of Floridians. Using the latest data available from the U.S. Census, we found that the median household income in Florida is $57,703, meaning that half of Florida’s households are nowhere near the necessary income threshold. However, beyond that point, we see the impact is felt by an overwhelming majority of Floridians.
While it is impossible to tell the breakdown of household incomes within the $100,000 to $149,999 threshold, even a conservative estimate would find that only 18.9% of households could afford the median house listed in Florida.
While this figure is alarming and could have a lasting impact on businesses and our economy well into the future, it is important to note that not all hope is lost. Business leaders, including many of those actively engaged in the work of the Florida Prosperity Project, are working to ensure that affordable housing is accessible in communities throughout the state.
Take Humana’s Bold Goal Initiative, which recently expanded its affordable housing investment to include ten communities across the state of Florida. Along the Atlantic coast, business leader (and prosperity project zip code adopter), Forough Hosseini launched “Homes Bring Hope,” which is working to build and rehabilitate homes with the mission of creating a pathway toward home ownership for those that otherwise would not have one.
Affordable workforce housing is no longer just an issue of poverty, it’s an issue that effects 81.1% of Floridians. As business leaders, it is vital that we work to create long-term solutions to ensure every Floridian, in every community, has the equal opportunity to succeed and build a life in the sunshine state.
If your business is focused on the future of Florida, and ensuring every Floridian has an equal opportunity at earned success, connect with me via email at email@example.com, or by phone at 850-521-1218.