The great church property flip: Florida pastors seek salvation in real estate
With large physical footprints, but precious few congregants, many traditional churches have faced difficult decisions about their viability, opting to downsize or close their doors altogether. But in Florida – particularly Miami, which has a severe housing shortage and was recently named the most expensive city for home ownership in America – developers are capitalizing by constructing multi-unit apartment buildings any place possible, giving church leadership there another option: selling to the highest bidder. [Source: The Guardian]
Florida's housing affordability crisis becoming a top issue in race for governor
Democratic gubernatorial candidates latched on to rising housing costs this week to draw a contrast with Gov. Ron DeSantis, who they say has focused on blaming President Joe Biden for inflation while taking a more laissez-faire approach to the state’s housing problems. Democrat Nikki Fried embarked on a two-week tour about the housing issue, saying the next governor needs to work on lowering the cost of living. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Opinion: Florida’s insurance crisis leaves homeowners in jeopardy
The rising cost of homeowners insurance is the biggest risk to the South Florida housing market. As more and more home insurers go bust or drop out of the Florida market, Sunshine State homeowners are paying the price both literally and figuratively. They now have fewer choices and face higher premiums. And it’s getting worse every year. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Central Florida small businesses brace for rent surge
As inflation numbers hit a 40-year high across the nation, rental rates for industrial and warehouse spaces were climbing faster in the Orlando metro area than other parts of the country. Tom Whisner, who owns Apogee Productions in Longwood, said the pandemic crippled his concert and event business. “We had ramped up to where our big thing was doing touring and arena shows. That is what they just totally cut,” he said. Two years later, he said relaxed COVID restrictions have allowed his business to come back “with a vengeance.” [Source: Click Orlando]
Why housing in the Sunshine State went from budget-friendly to extravagantly out of touch goes beyond rising inflation, stagnant incomes, and increasing demand. Some of it can be directed at raids on a state trust fund. Called the Sadowski Fund, it became Florida law back in 1992 as a dedicated annual revenue source to keep affordable housing projects thriving across the state. [Source: WFTX]
› Remote workers buying Jacksonville-area real estate [Action News Jax]
Realtors in the Jacksonville area are seeing major migration from one group in particular -- remote workers. Mitchel Cole moved to St. Augustine when he realized he could do his work away from larger cities with high-priced homes. “Twenty years ago, that never would’ve been possible,” he said. Mark Rosener, a local realtor, said he had a client in New Hampshire whose husband’s job went totally remote.
› St. Pete could become the first city in Florida to enact a tenants’ right to legal counsel policy [WMNF]
As the Sunshine City continues to seek solutions to its unaffordable housing crisis, city leaders in St. Petersburg are exploring the idea of guaranteeing a right to legal counsel for local tenants facing eviction. This policy, known as a tenants’ right to counsel, has been enacted in multiple cities and several states nationwide, but nowhere in Florida.
› Tenants could divert rent to pay for neglected repairs under Miami-Dade proposal [Miami Herald]
A proposed “Tenant’s Bill of Rights” would bring new protections for renters across Miami-Dade County, including preventing their eviction if they pay for repairs neglected by the landlord out of the rent. Florida law already allows tenants to stop paying rent if a landlord leaves their home unlivable, but the proposed legislation that unanimously passed a committee vote Thursday adds extra protections for renters.
› Homebuyers moving to Port St. Lucie in search of affordable prices [WPTV]
As home prices keep soaring, a record number of buyers are now seeking out more affordable markets, according to a new study from real estate firm Redfin. Redfin said Wednesday that 32.3% of homebuyers in the first quarter looked to move to different areas, saying more affordable areas were their only option. In South Florida, that home buyer migration is apparently moving north to places like Port St Lucie.