Survey: majority of Floridians urge local governments to act on affordable housing

by | Feb 9, 2024

A statewide survey published on Friday reflects that 69 percent of Florida voters believe local governments should take responsibility for addressing affordable housing, highlighting concerns over housing insecurity and its impact on business operations and workforce stability.

Findings from a statewide survey published on Friday indicate demand from Florida voters for local governments to address a shortage of affordable housing.

According to the survey, 69 percent of Floridians believe it is the “responsibility of local governments to tackle the issue of affordable housing.” Similarly, 64 percent of those surveyed called for governments to take more aggressive actions to solve the housing crisis.

More than one-third of respondents said they faced difficulties in finding affordable living arrangements, with North Florida and Tampa Bay reporting the highest percentages. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of Floridians say they have a friend or family member who has experienced housing insecurity

The poll also shed light on the economic implications of the housing shortage, with nearly two-thirds of voters recognizing its effect on businesses’ ability to operate and expand. This concern was most pronounced in Southeast Florida, where three out of four people acknowledge the challenge businesses face in finding workers due to the lack of affordable housing options.

In the region, 80 percent of respondents stated that local governments must address workforce housing needs, the highest agreement level among the state’s areas.

The poll also highlights a political angle, with nearly 70 percent of Floridians more inclined to support local and state elected officials who advocate for affordable housing solutions.

The survey, conducted between December 16 and December 20, involved 625 registered voters from various regions of Florida, including North Florida, Central Florida, Tampa Bay Lakeland, Southeast Florida, and Southwest Florida.

In December, Miami-Dade County was named the hottest rental market in America, according to RentCafe’s annual report. The county’s Rental Competitivity Index (RCI) — a measurement of rental market competition using factors such as lease renewal rates and occupancy rates — was 122, the highest in the country. The next highest RCI nationwide was North Jersey, New Jersey at 116, while Broward County was Florida’s second most competitive region, with an RCI score of 101.

The region recorded high occupancy rates in its rental properties in 2023, with 71.2 percent of renters electing to renew their leases. For those seeking new housing, each available rental unit in Miami attracted an average of 22 applicants.

The findings come one year after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Live Local Act” into law, which incentivizes investment in affordable housing to avoid boom and bust cycles in the development cycle that discourage future investments. One of the major problems it aims to solve is helping Floridians live in the same community where they work.

In many areas across Florida, the cost of living rose to a level that many public service jobs, including firefighters, and teachers, couldn’t afford to live in the communities they serve.  The problem is not new, but inflation and the rising cost of living have especially driven up the cost of housing across the nation.


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