In Broward County, a good rent is getting hard to find

It’s getting tougher for Broward County families to find a rent they can afford.

The number of households paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent has increased 16 percent in the past four years, rising to 147,000 families, said Ralph Stone, the county’s director of housing finance and community redevelopment.

Over the same time, the number of households that can afford the median-priced single-family home in Broward — currently $355,000 — has dropped from 20 percent four years ago to 12.7 percent now, Stone said.

The worsening numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise when 54 percent of workers in the county are in low-wage, service-sector positions, he said.

But Stone said the money the county has spent has had “a significant impact” by providing developers with “gap financing” that makes it worth their while to build the lower-cost housing. The county funds are being used to create more than 600 rental units, he said.

“We’re getting very good leverage effects,” Stone said.

Commissioners agreed to meet again within the next few months to hold a workshop on what approaches are needed moving forward.

“This is not about any one solution,” Commissioner Nan Rich said. Infill housing, developer incentives, higher impact fees and zoning changes are just some of the possibilities, she said.

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