Soaring prices squeeze renters in Jax
A University of North Florida analysis found that nearly half of Jacksonville’s renters are "cost-burdened," partly because so many institutional investors have snatched up rental properties.
The JAX Rental Housing Project found that 47.4% of residents devote at least 30% of their income to housing. It’s a fact that reverberates across the economy because it leaves people with less money to spend on other needs.
The report, titled “Jacksonville’s Affordable Rental Housing Crisis: Description, Diagnosis, and Potential Policy Solutions,” noted that tenants saw their rents increase between $370 and $470 per month from 2020 to 2022.
David Jaffee is a sociology professor at UNF who compiled the report. He says private equity companies and large investors have altered the local housing market.
“They expect a return on their investment,” Jaffee told Melissa Ross on First Coast Connect. “And, therefore, a large part of this increase is related to the fact that there are shareholders who are expecting some kind of return on their investment in the properties in Jacksonville.
"So, we have renters (and) tenants in Jacksonville struggling to pay rent. And at the other end, you have investors that are reaping the benefits of this sharp spike in rents in Jacksonville. And, it’s not just in Jacksonville. This is a national problem, but much more significant in the southeast, the major metropolitan areas and all of the major metropolitan areas in Florida."
In mid-January, real estate technology company Redfin noted that rental rates in Jacksonville declined 0.8% in December 2022 compared to the same point in 2021. But Jacksonville was one of the top two markets in the country last year for investor-purchased homes.
According to Redfin data, Jacksonville led the country with 29.6% of homes purchased in the third quarter by investors. This area also had the highest percentage in the second quarter (31.9%) and the second-highest percentage in the first quarter (32.3%).
Issues of affordable housing also were raised in a report by the city's Special Committee on Critical Quality of Life Issues in December. Jaffee and others proposed the city of Jacksonville monitor and regulate institutional investors, promote zoning that allows for multifamily residences and commission a comprehensive study on affordable housing.
During the fall, Michael Boylan, chairman of the special committee, said he expected legislation and ordinances to be filed once the new year began.
No ordinances for new initiatives have been filed so far.