Real Estate

More Than 40 Percent of Miami Adults Now Forced to Live With Roommates

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Miami TV montages always contain the same few shots: people sunning themselves on South Beach, clubgoers waving their arms in the air, old Cuban men in newsboy hats drinking cortaditos, and maybe a slow-motion shot of a crawling Rolls-Royce or some drone footage of an alligator.

New Times would like to propose another standard shot for TV reels: HD footage of the weird 38-year-old roommate you found on Craigslist strolling through your LIV pregame wearing Family Guy boxers. Because according to new data from the real-estate website Zillow, nearly half of Miami-Dade's adult population is forced to shack up with a roommate because of insane housing costs.

According to Zillow data, 41 percent of Miami adults in 2017 lived in "doubled-up" households — an industry term for a home where two working adults live but aren't married or in a relationship. That's good for the third-highest rate in America, behind rent-plagued Los Angeles (45 percent) and Riverside, California (43 percent). Miami actually beat out infamously roommate-heavy New York City by a full percentage point.

Of course, part of this trend could be due to Latin American social norms, in which adult family members tend to remain living with their parents or other relatives until they marry. Miami also has an extremely high number of young working adults still living with their parents.

But societal cues clearly don't tell the whole story, because rates for millennials stuck at home and adults stuck with roommates have blossomed in the past decade. In 2000, according to Zillow, only 30 percent of Miami adults lived with other people to keep rent costs down. The rate jumped by 11 percent by 2016.

“As rents have outpaced incomes, living alone is no longer an option for many working-aged adults,” Zillow economist Aaron Terrazas wrote in a Tuesday news release. “By sharing a home with roommates — or in some cases, with adult parents — working adults are able to afford to live in more desirable neighborhoods without shouldering the full cost alone."

Across the board, the prevalence of roommates correlated with how expensive a city is: The higher the rent, the more people reported living with other adults. The cities with the lowest roommate prevalence were in the Midwest, where young urban professionals don't typically choose to move. The five most "independent" cities — Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio — are Midwestern towns that millennials and real-estate investors tend to overlook.

As New Times notes frequently, Miami is regularly rated one of the worst cities in America to rent an apartment thanks to rents only 1-percenters can afford and abnormally low median income levels for a metro area its size.

"Unless current dynamics shift and income growth exceeds rent growth for a sustained period of time, this trend is unlikely to change," Terrazas wrote.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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