Miami Is the Worst City in America to Rent an Apartment

Affordability is the most pressing political issue in Miami. City and county officials continue approving luxury-rental complexes in the Magic City despite a leviathan of data telling them to stop because they're actively contributing to a housing crisis.

Now, yet another study confirms every 99-percenter's experience with Miami's apartment-rental market: It sucks eggs. Today, Forbes released its comprehensive rankings on which cities are the best for renters — and Miami came in dead last.

According to Forbes (and roughly a million smaller studies that have been released elsewhere in recent years), rent is rising while vacancies have become extremely scarce — which means that renters who want to move are trapped, looking at a handful of apartments they increasingly can't afford.

Making the crisis worse, Forbes found that Miami's median income ($45,738, according to the magazine) was the lowest of any city surveyed. In fact, no other major metro area on Forbes' 46-city list had a median income below $50,000.

Thus, Forbes has ceremoniously named Miami the "Worst City for Renters in 2017." Even the magazine seemed incredulous — Forbes even mentioned in its headline that Miami surprisingly topped Manhattan and San Francisco in terms of rental accessibility. But such is the state in which Miami finds itself.

According to the business mag, the average apartment "vacancy rate" around town was just 2.2 percent last year, which is astounding given the amount of new construction projects that have popped up post-2010. Though the city's median rents aren't as high as in a city like San Fran (Miami's is $1,386, while San Francisco's is more than double that, at $2,982), incomes are so low in the Magic City that even modest price increases can wreak havoc on the local economy. San Francisco's median income, according to the magazine, is $104,558 — more than double Miami's.

Forbes also laid into developers and elected officials for not concentrating enough on multifamily projects and affordable housing: The magazine cited a 2016 Zillow study that showed just 10 percent of the new homes built from 2014 to 2016 were multifamily units. Close to 70 percent of the new homes built in the past two years were aimed at the ultra-wealthy. And a city made entirely of billionaires cannot stand.

Today's report echoes other recent studies about how difficult renting has become in the 305. Other reports have shown that single people can't afford rent here, that Miamians blow the highest percentage of their incomes on rent in America, and that even people with roommates struggle to pay rent.

Despite these facts, Miami-Dade County is floating the idea to sell off public land (such as the property on which the main public library stands) to let developers build more random towers.

There is one important caveat here: Forbes looked at rent for apartments only and did not include rental condos in its report. Condos are a huge part of the Miami real-estate landscape and also make up a huge portion of the new towers shoved into the skyline after the Great Recession.

But depending upon your position in life and income bracket, there's some good and/or terrible news regarding condos on the horizon: Developers have built so many (and local officials have OK'ed so many projects) that most real-estate analysts believe the local condo market is slated for a huge price drop in the next few years.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.