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Prior to the pandemic, more than half of the area’s households were cost burdened, paying more than the 30 percent of their income to keep a home and on related bills, according to Florida International University’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center.

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Dr. Edward Murray, associate director of the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University, noted that “there is a severe shortage which is driving up prices. Adding to the pressure is the fact that most South Florida households can’t afford to buy, so they have no choice to rent, thus adding to the demand.”

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Despite an ever-growing Miami skyline, Professor Murray says the supply of apartments is not even close to meeting the demand. This is what really concerns him: in the past year, rental prices in South Florida have surged 30%. Wages, though, have only ticked up about 2%. Ned Murray: “The economic impact of that is significant.”

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Commissioners hired Florida International University professors Dario Moreno and Maria Ilcheva, redistricting experts who hosted seven forums attended by an estimated 300 people. Afterward, they produced four map alternatives. FIU’s presence removed the self-dealing that tarnished redistricting in the past.

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Most workers in Florida can’t afford to rent a typical two bedroom apartment, said Ned Murray, associate director of the Florida International University Metropolitan Center. A full-time worker would need to earn $24.43 an hour to pay the typical rent of $1,270 a month, but the median wage in Florida is $17.26 an hour, he said.

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There are several theories as to why people have not flocked back to the workforce, and what it will take to bring workers back. "We know this labor force participation problem isn't going away overnight," said Frank. The number of people in South Florida considered part of the workforce remains below where it was before the pandemic started in 2020.

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Those jumps put the American Dream of homeownership further out of reach for most Miamians. Ned Murray, associate director of Florida International University’s Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center, estimates that only 8 percent of Miami-Dade County’s 2.7 million residents can now afford the current median home price of $490,000.

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In the meantime, South Florida runs the risk of eroding its middle class, the loss of which would cause drastic effects to the region’s economy. Emerging data indicates that high housing costs are impacting the work force in South Florida, according to Dr. Edward Murray, associate director of the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University.

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“Our competitive edge, which was always that Florida was affordable, is no longer the case,” Edward Murray, a housing expert at Florida International University’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center, told me.

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“This is not sustainable as renters paying in excess of 50% of their income on housing costs have very little quality-of-life,” said Dr. Ned Murray, associate director with the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University.

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