By Emma Ockerman
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge dubbed sunny Miami the “epicenter of the housing crisis in this country” during a recent visit. Fudge made that stark remark on Miami’s affordability issues while visiting Liberty Square, a public housing complex in the South Florida city, according to the Miami Herald.
To anyone following the nation’s surge in rental prices, zeroing in on Miami is hardly a surprise. The overall median rental price for the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach region was up nearly 46% in May from the same time last year, according to data from Realtor.com. Miami has also consistently ranked among the U.S. cities with the fastest-growing rents this year. (Realtor.com is operated by News Corp /zigman2/quotes/201755982/composite NWSA +0.86% subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch is a unit of Dow Jones, which is also a subsidiary of News Corp.)
Miami is a particularly hot market. The typical value of homes in Miami is $517,987, Zillow /zigman2/quotes/204413973/composite Z +2.96% said in its own seasonally-adjusted estimate , up 26.3% over the past year.
“It is so different when you see it for yourself,” Fudge, who visited government-funded apartment complexes and met with local officials last week, said, according to WFOR-TV, a CBS affiliate in Miami . “That’s why I’m here. It is important that we address the housing crisis.”
Fudge suggested reforms to local zoning rules as a potential solution, as well as allocating COVID relief money toward easing the pinch, according to the Miami Herald.
The Biden administration has consistently highlighted the need to build more housing in the U.S., and the White House said last month that it wanted to provide incentives to cities that promote housing density. Additionally, President Joe Biden’s budget proposal for fiscal 2023 includes $35 billion in mandatory funding at HUD so state and local housing finance agencies, as well as their partners, can provide grants and financing tools to build more housing and remove barriers to development.
But the need for help in Miami is immediate. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has declared housing affordability a crisis , and media reports have featured stories of renters who have been forced to leave the city, abandoning their homes of often more than a decade because their landlords decided to sell , as well as protests over rent increases.