The old rule of thumb is that you shouldn't pay more than 30 percent of your income on rent and utilities, but in Miami that's becoming a near-impossible guideline to stick to. A new Zillow analysis shows that the median rent (not including utilities) in Miami is equal to about 43 percent of the median income -- an all-time high and one of the highest rates in the nation.
All those fancy, exclusive high-rises that developers keep building aren't helping matters much.
That 43.2 percent spent on rent is up from the historical rate of 26.5 percent. Of the major metro areas, only Los Angeles has a higher average at 46.9 percent. Average New Yorkers, meanwhile, pay about 39.5 percent for rent. In San Francisco, it's 40.7 percent.
The national average, however, is 29.5 percent, and many other large metro areas have saner rent prices. In Atlanta, for example, the fraction of the median average spent on the median rent is just 24.5 percent of the median income.
The New York Times says, "The problem threatens to get worse before it gets better." Demand from high-end renters and buyers, usually foreigners, is so strong in Miami that developers have little incentive to build apartment buildings that would be affordable to someone making the average income in Miami.
"Increasing the supply is not going to increase the number of affordable units; that is a complete and utter fallacy," Jaimie Ross, the president of the Florida Housing Coalition, told the paper. "People say if there really was a great need, the market would provide it; the market would correct itself. Well, the market has never corrected itself, and it's only getting worse."
Essentially, there's a large demand for more sanely priced rentals in Miami, but the mechanisms of the market at the moment make it unlikely that demand will be met. The increase in luxury contraction has also affected property values, making it more difficult to construct affordable buildings as well.
As far as moving to the suburbs is concerned, the Times notes that any savings can be quickly wiped out by transportation costs.
So, as Miami's rich continue to get richer by selling fancy condos to other rich folks, the average Miamian continues to get screwed.
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