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Is Florida okay with its recent Rent Burden increases?

Due to the steep increase in rental costs in the US housing market, rent burden has been on the rise. This article focuses on 127 selected Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) covered by Market Stadium to analyze the rent burden changes at the county level before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 384 counties were analyzed, excluding counties with limited rent data. The Rent Burden Index (RBI) used in this article is calculated based on the median income data from Census, BEA's personal income change for the state, and Zillow Rent Index. Figure 1 demonstrates a strong correlation between the RBI in 2019 and the census RBI in 2019, indicating that our RBI effectively represents the rent burden.

Figure 1. Scatter plot between rent burden from census and RBI of Market Stadium

Figure 2 and 3 presents the RBI for October 2019 (pre-COVID) and March 2023(post-COVID). Both maps show that the rent burden of New York, Florida, and California is generally high. Bronx, Suffolk, Kings, and New York County in New York have the highest RBI among the analyzed counties, ranging from 48.53% to 59.70%. Moreover, comparing the two figures reveals an overall increase in rent burden before and after COVID-19. The analyzed counties experienced an average rent burden increase of 2.88%, from 24.65% in October 2019 to 27.53% in March 2023.


Figure 2. RBI in October 2019


Figure 3. RBI in March 2023


Figure 4 depicts the changes in RBI from pre-COVID (October 2019) to post-COVID (March 2023). Significant increases in RBI can be observed in certain counties in Florida and New York, while California experienced relatively smaller changes. Out of the top 20 counties with significant RBI changes, 11 are located in Florida and New York, with only one county, San Bernardino, belonging to California.


Figure 4. Change in RBI between Pre-COVID(October 2019) and Post-COVID(March 2023)


The table below provides the top 20 counties with the largest RBI changes for reference.


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