Real Estate

Only 42 Percent of Miamians Can Afford a Mortgage, Study Says

Contrary to the crotchety reporters who say millennials are immature slouches who hate responsibility, plenty of young people want to own homes — they simply can't afford them. Especially in Miami.

Case in point: A study released yesterday by housing-research website Zumper shows that 93 percent of Miamians say they'd like to own a home at some point in their lives, but only 43 percent of the city's residents can afford a mortgage right now.

That's an abysmal ratio that only reinforces a narrative long lobbed at Miami: The city is in the midst of an acute housing-affordability crisis, even among middle-class residents.

Of the 15 major cities Zumper studied, only three fared worse than the Magic City. All of them were in California: Only 20 percent of San Diego residents can afford a mortgage there, while 22 percent of those in Los Angeles can pay for a home loan. In San Francisco, 40 percent of residents can handle a mortgage, which is somewhat surprising given that city's housing issues.
To compile the report, Zumper surveyed 6,000 of its users via email and asked a set of 26 questions about housing affordability. Of those studied, the desire to own a home was highest among people aged 20 to 29, which puts yet another huge dent in that whole "millennials suck" narrative. (Desire to own a home bottomed out among people aged 50 to 59, though Zumper admits its sample skewed younger than the actual population of each town because older folks don't tend to frequent apartment-rental websites.)
The numbers are sure to rile Gov. Rick Scott, who is so concerned with the state's unemployment numbers he seems to insert the word "jobs" into every sentence he utters as if he's playing some sort of government-funded "meow game." 

Miami city leaders, meanwhile, seem to put little work into improving the quality of job offerings. As long as the majority of Miami's businesses are in the service industry, it'll get harder and harder for anyone to buy a house here.
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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.