(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Following a study of Broward County’s housing needs that reveals a “severe housing supply and demand imbalance,” Broward Housing Partnership has proposed steps to find solutions to what it calls “a crisis.” The study, commissioned by the no-profit BHP, was conducted by the Florida International University Metropolitan Center.

The 2002-2005 housing boom is cited as the culprit of the imbalance, according to the study. While housing prices spiked 65% over the past two years, per capita income rose just 6% in three years. The study states that 22 of the county’s municipalities have affordability gaps of more than $100,000 between the median sales price of a single-family home and the family median income needed to purchase a home. “A major affordability gap also extends countywide to rental housing and to condominium prices in the majority of cities,” it states.

Specifically, in regard to condos, the study says an annual income of $50,000 would be required for a median priced condo of $193,000 while 44% of households in the county earn less than $41,300 a year. It also says an income of $45,000 a year is needed to afford a market rate rental unit costing $1,122 a month, but the median income of renters is just $31,898 a year.

“We must be able to provide housing for workers who form the basis of our economy in industries such as tourism and hospitality and also provide appropriate housing support for crucial occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, nurses and other public service professionals,” says BHP president James Carras. Toward that end, BHP, which is comprised of 70 business and civic organizations, is creating a housing trust fund, capitalized by corporate and community investors, to make loans to developers of affordable multifamily rental housing. The fund will also provide first-time homebuyers with zero-interest loans.

BHP is also forming a community land trust to “seek opportunities to use vacant land for infill development or to convert old building to new homes,” Carras says. The land trust will also purchase land for affordable housing development.

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