Florida’s minimum wage must double to make apartments affordable, housing report says

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida minimum wage is less than half of what a person needs to make to afford a one-bedroom apartment, according to a report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, placing housing out of reach for the bottom of the income ladder.

Currently, a person earning minimum wage needs to work 93 hours per week – more than two full-time jobs – to afford an apartment.

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For a 40-hour workweek, that wage would have to rise from $8.65 per hour to $18.08.

“I am shocked,” Alfred Tinel said. “It’s horrible.”

Tinel added that he knows friends who struggle to make their payments and build wealth, a common story among young adults entering the workforce for the first time.

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Orlando realtor and real estate expert Ray Lopez said the market is still experiencing the aftershocks of the Great Recession in the late 2000′s.

“In 2008, when the market was crashing, the builders couldn’t get rid of their inventory,” he explained. “A lot of builders went under a lot of banks went under. So because of that for the next four years, there wasn’t a lot of building.”

Once building picked up, he added, available units couldn’t catch up to demand.

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Since many developers focus on luxury housing, people around Lake Eola said area leaders needed to market the upside of more affordable projects.

“The people who actually live here don’t have a place being built for us,” Yuli Mercado said, pointing out that many Orlando residents worked in the service industry and couldn’t afford sky-high rents.

Lopez said thanks to the influx of people moving from the north, prices wouldn’t go down any time soon.