By staff writer
While much of Miami’s real estate market has seen a boom in demand and production over the last decade, the city’s affordable housing market is comparatively stark and limited, leaving mid- to low-income individuals with few options for housing in nearly all areas of the county.
However, there are still areas of Downtown that are particularly ripe for affordable real estate development. A prime example is Omni Midtown, near the Adrienne Arsht Center, and the area’s Community Redevelopment Agency has taken note. When Invest: Miami sat down with Omni Midtown CRA’s Executive Director Jason Walker last year, he highlighted the shift in the area’s home prices and its need for more affordable development.
“Many people who lived here for years, myself included, can no longer afford to, so we are working to change that,” Walker explained. “Many people have a certain interpretation when they hear the term ‘affordable housing.’ Something important to clarify is that our focus is on affordable housing for mixed incomes.”
Walker’s latter point highlights the fact fact that the term “affordable housing” does not necessarily mean “low-income housing” but rather housing for people with varying incomes who simply cannot afford luxury living.
“Miami is currently in a crisis,” stated Matthew Rieger, president and CEO of Housing Trust Group in a recent conversation with Invest: Miami. “According to a JCHS Harvard University study, 61 percent of Miami renters are currently cost-burdened when it comes to housing costs, meaning they are spending over 30 percent of their income on rent. This makes Miami the number-one large metro area in the country for cost-burdened renters.”
Furthermore, Rieger explained that other areas of the county, such as Kendall, have seen increased demand for housing development as a result of prices in Downtown, Brickell and Miami Beach.
“West Kendall is experiencing tremendous growth.” explained Rieger. “Demand for affordable housing developments in the county is incredible, and they tend to yield triple-digit waiting lists for leases almost immediately.”
To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:
Omni Midtown CRA: http://omnicra.com/
Housing Trust Group: http://htgf.com/