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Rent or buy? Florida's housing costs make decision more complicated

Rent or buy? Florida’s housing costs make decision more complicated

Is it better to rent or buy a home right now? In most of the United States, it’s cheaper to rent an apartment than to buy a home, but in Florida, it’s another story. Data by Zumper shows rent prices are down in most Florida cities except for the state’s capitol, Tallahassee. Limited inventory during the pandemic pushed home prices up. Although inflation can be blamed for the increase in rental and mortgage costs, the price increases also boosted national inflation levels. [Source: WFLA]

High-end RV resorts grow popular amid the housing crunch. Some deem it ‘affordable luxury.’

Overlooking the New River in Fort Lauderdale not far from million-dollar homes situated across the waterway lies a well-kept secret: a luxury RV resort. It offers what many think of when they visit South Florida: gorgeous waterfront views, lush greenery and million-dollar yachts floating by, but with a twist. Instead of condos or sky-high apartment buildings, Yacht Haven Park and Marina features more than 220 lots that guests can rent to park their RVs. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida dominates list of most overvalued housing markets

Florida metros make up six of the 10 most overvalued housing markets in the nation, according to the latest report from researchers at Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University. Cape Coral-Fort Myers ranks No. 1, with buyers paying 62.29% more than they should, based on the sales history in that market. The other Florida markets in the top 10 are: No. 2 Deltona (a 55.51% premium); No. 4. Palm Bay-Melbourne (54.55%); No. 6 Tampa (53.54%); No. 7 Lakeland (51.99%); and No. 10 North Port-Bradenton (48.41%). [Source: Phys.org]

Agriculture Department wastes no time acquiring rural development rights

Time is money when it comes to Florida real estate, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services isn’t wasting time when it comes to buying development rights in rural areas to keep those places rural and supportive of agriculture and wildlife habitat. Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson made the rounds at the Capitol recently, explaining the importance of and plans for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. What money the Department has to spend, they will spend as fast as they can, he said, because land values are increasing daily. [Source: Florida Politics]

State home-hardening grant program clarifies eligibility rules for roof, impact window reimbursements

Yes to reimbursements for roof replacements. No to money for impact windows if your home already has hurricane shutters. Those two answers to frequently asked questions about what improvements will qualify for state home-hardening grants of up to $10,000 should finally provide clarity for applicants confused by their inspection reports and information on the My Safe Florida Home program website. The $150 million program, authorized by state lawmakers during a special legislative session last May, offers $2 for every $1 spent by homeowners on wind-mitigation improvements that helps to lower their home insurance costs. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network in Florida provided housing for more than 3,400 homeless Veterans in 2022. The number represents nearly 102 percent of the established goal for the network. [Source: Sebastian Daily]


› South Florida retail vacancies drop, rents rise in the fourth quarter
South Florida’s population growth is a boon to retail landlords, which again raised rents, as vacancies hit low single digits in the final quarter of last year, according to a recent Colliers report. Outdoor shopping centers remained the top asset class for commercial investors in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. And Walgreens cashing out of two pharmacy properties represented the biggest trades in Palm Beach County, Colliers also found.

› Florida Senate housing bill bans rent control, gives developers tax breaks
A ban on local governments imposing rent control, limits on local zoning laws, and more tax breaks for developers are the top features of an $811 million affordable housing bill introduced Thursday by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. The package doesn’t provide direct relief for the millions of Floridians who have seen their rent go up astronomically in recent years. Instead, it relies on a trickle-down approach by giving tax incentives to developers in exchange for lower-than-market-value rental rates on their projects.

› Habitat for Humanity teams up with FineMark Bank to provide affordable housing
Habitat for Humanity welcomed its first Heritage Heights resident on Friday morning after teaming up with FineMark National Bank & Trust. Rebecca Rodriguez and her 85-year-old grandmother could not afford rent in Southwest Florida, so they turned to Habitat for Humanity for help with finding affordable housing. “I am so excited, so happy for this house,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez is the first of six Heritage Heights families to receive a newly-built home after FineMark National Bank & Trust pledged $1 million to help those in need.

› St. Petersburg, Hillsborough net extra U.S. aid for housing
The federal government is sending an additional $6.5 million to the Tampa Bay area for affordable housing units and to aid tenants facing evictions. The U.S. Department of Treasury announced this week it was allocating almost $2.55 million each to Hillsborough County and to the city of St. Petersburg, and nearly $1.4 million to Pinellas County. The money can be used to assist households with rent and utility payments or to develop affordable housing units..