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In 2018 Can You Afford to Live in Miami? (It Depends on Where You Want to Live!)

Originally posted on June 25, 2018 10:00 am
Updated on July 02, 2018 10:02 am

Income Needed to Rent in Miami is Over the Annual Household Median

Cost of living has been on the rise since, well, the beginning of time. Unfortunately, it seems like income just never catches up. Median household income for Miami-Dade County according to the most recent Census ACS is just $45,935. Broward County is a bit higher, at $54,212 for the typical family. This means that 50% of the population make more than this, but also that 50% make less. If you’ve been wondering where you can afford to live, RentHop’s data science team has done the math for you.

Some of our key findings this year include:

  • Of the zip codes we had data for, 35% had median 2-bedroom rents exceeding half of the median household income.
  • The median rent for a two-bedroom in Miami is $1,750 per month, and will require $70,000 to secure. That’s over 150% of the Miami-Dade County median household income.
  • Opa-Locka remained one of the cheapest neighborhoods (independent of household income), year over year, albeit with a noticeable increase in the 2-bedroom median rent (+$200 year compared to last year).
  • The zip code 33156 (Kendall) tops the affordability list, requiring only 23% of the annual household income. This is largely influenced, however, by the high median household income ($100,531) relative to the median 2-bedroom rental price ($1,925).
  • Rental prices are quickly outpacing income growth. With new developments potentially on the horizon (e.g. Eastside Ridge), one can imagine that the trend of unaffordable housing will continue.
  • It should come as no surprise that the most expensive neighborhoods to rent an apartment were near the coast in the Village of Key Biscayne (zip code: 33149), Miami Beach (zip code: 33139), and Midtown Miami (zip code: 33137). In the Village of Key Biscayne, median rent for 2-bedrooms hover around $4,238 per month, requiring $169,500 per year in household income.

The 40x Rule

To calculate what is and isn’t affordable, we used the 40x rule. This is the rule of thumb for most landlords in pretty much every major city. This guideline says that the household income must be at least 40 times the monthly rent. For example: if rent is $3,000 for a 2 bedroom, then you and your roommate must make at least $120,000 combined. This assumes your credit is solid and there are no other red flags.

There are exceptions to this rule: If you have vast savings or a guarantor whom makes 80 times the rent, a landlord is likely to let you slide without meeting the income requirements. It’s also not unheard of for a landlord to request last month’s rent in addition to the first month and security deposit for those with below average credit / income. Our “how much can I afford” guide can give you a little more info on these rules and some ways to overcome them.

So how much DO you need to live in a Miami neighborhood?

The Map Below Shows Income Required for a 2-Bedroom Apartment in Miami

The map above shows the cost of a two-bedroom apartment in neighborhoods across zip codes that we had data for. We used data for the trailing 6 months as of June 1, 2018 to calculate the median asking rent and multiplied that by 40 to calculate the customary income requirement to rent an apartment. Median household income by zip code is according to the Census American Community Survey 2016, table S1903.

The map might lead you to believe that no one can afford to live in Miami, but we are mapping only the asking rents. Most of the population already has somewhere to live; many own their homes and many others have rented their homes for so long that they’re locked in to a much lower rent.

What Are the Least Affordable Places to Live in Miami?

It should come as no surprise that the most expensive neighborhoods to rent an apartment were near the coast in the Village of Key Biscayne (zip code: 33149), Miami Beach (zip code: 33139), and Midtown Miami (zip code: 33137). In the Village of Key Biscayne, median rent for 2-bedrooms hover around $4,238 per month, requiring $169,500 per year in household income.

From an income unaffordability standpoint, however, neighborhoods such as Brickell ($2,650), East Little Havana ($1,650), and Park West ($1,743) top the charts. With median incomes of $25,166 for Brickell (zip code: 33130), $20,180 for East Little Havana (zip code: 33128), and $21,356 for Park West (zip code: 33136), median 2-bedroom rents are astronomically high, requiring over 95% of annual household income for each of the aforementioned neighborhoods.

The Table Below Displays all Two-Bedroom Median Asking Rents

It also shows the income required to live there for all neighborhoods that we had sufficient data. You can sort by “Zip Code”, “Income Required to Rent (40x rule),” “Median 2BR Price,” or “% of Income Required for Median 2BR Rent,” or type in a neighborhood name or zip code to search for yours.

Is There Anywhere in Miami That’s Actually Affordable?

If you click “% Income Required for Median 2BR Rent” to re-sort the table above it’ll show that stat in ascending order. This shows us Kendall and Lago Mar, and Pembroke Falls at the top of the list of affordable neighborhoods relative to median household income.

Opa-Locka, Brownsville, and North Miami Beach ranked as the most affordable neighborhoods, with two-bedrooms available for $1,350 per month. This is still more than the typical family can afford, pointing to the larger issue of housing unaffordability that is common is cities across the country.

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