Out Of Reach: The High Cost Of Rental Housing In Escambia County

June 17, 2018

A new report shows affordable housing is simply out of reach for many Escambia County residents.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a minimum wage worker in Escambia County must work 80 hours per week to afford a two bedroom apartment at fair market value.

Florida’s minimum wage is $8.25, and Escambia County’s fair market rent for a modest two bedroom rental is $846. According to the NLIHC, workers need to earn $33,840 to afford that apartment — the equivalent of two full time jobs at minimum wage.

The numbers are based on a renter spending 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs, and fair market rent provides an estimate of what a family moving today can expect to pay for a modestly priced rental  in a given area.

In order the afford a two bedroom apartment in Escambia County, the report says a worker needs to earn $16.27 per hour. There are 46,096 renter households — about 40 percent of all households — in Escambia County. Those household earn an estimate average wage of $15.12.

“Florida has the nation’s third-highest homeless population, including veterans and families with children. More than 950,000 low income hardworking families, elders and disabled Floridians living on fixed incomes pay more than 50 percent of their incomes for housing,” said Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition. “Florida’s housing crisis is real; we have a dedicated revenue source to address this crisis.”

NorthEscambia.com graphic.


23 Responses to “Out Of Reach: The High Cost Of Rental Housing In Escambia County”

  1. Hard Worker on June 20th, 2018 8:49 pm

    I’m so glad someone recognizes this dire situation in Pensacola and surrounding areas. I have worked the same job for 24 yrs. I make $27,000 a yr. I went through a bad marriage which left me with bad credit. It is almost impossible to find a house or mobile home to rent less than $900-$1000 a month unless it is in a questionable neighborhood. As a single mother who raised her son on this salary, the struggle is very real and everyday is a challenge to survive and pay the bills. I don’t live in nothing fancy or even decent I’m ashamed to say and I pay $850 a month. That’s almost 1/2 of my salary for the month. I have never been late on rent or when I owned a beautiful house on the water during my failed marriage. I had to sell my half of everything just to survive while in school full time and working. I look just about everyday and there’s nothing out there that is affordable. I don’t know how us single people make it week to week. I need a second job working 7 days a week. I already work 10 hr days to better my situation. God bless the Landlords who give a tenant a chance and go by rental hx instead of credit card debt I lived off of while trying to survive that doesn’t get paid because utilities, rent and gas to get back and forth to work out weighs it.

  2. 429SCJ on June 20th, 2018 7:13 am

    The arrival of jobs has created a higher demand for rental properties and therefore higher rental prices.

    Why not simply relocate to a economically depressed area, where there will be lower rental prices.

    One only needs to drive a short distance.

  3. Mike Honcho on June 18th, 2018 5:14 pm

    Wow where to start. First there are a lot of low income housing here there like waffle houses got one on every corner. Next working for minimum wage is just that minimum. You have to apply yourself you have to try this attitude people have now that they are offended because someone else has something they want is ridiculous. I’m glad my parents taught me the meaning of a dollar. So shut up step up and improve the quality of your own life.

  4. dman on June 18th, 2018 2:50 pm

    The REALLY smart young people buy a house then rent it out when they move, and buy another one for themselves to live in. Then they do the same thing again…and again…and again to build up a rental income stream. Real wealth is acquired through land ownership. There’s a reason that our forebears held so dearly to the “American Dream” of home ownership. The rental lifestyle is one of mild servitude because you’re consistently paying someone else’s Mortgage, and at their will can be forced out. Not to mention…a mortgage is often cheaper than rent.

  5. bartender on June 18th, 2018 11:04 am

    pensacola is only building fancy apartments because of navy federaL growing.the poor people here has to live on the streets or live in run down trailers or apartments.when you live on one pay check a month even for us older people on social surcurity.its hard when you live alone.must less the power bill going up with this heat.people that dont live from pay check to pay check dont understand.and some of these places people have to rent are so unfair.you cant get a nice place to live for under 600 a month.its sad the way some people have to live around here.even min.wage you cant make it.not all people have good paying jobs.

  6. CW on June 18th, 2018 6:39 am

    @anne 1of2

    Most of that stuff gets deducted as a business expense. You also get to deduct for depreciation. No different than any other business.

  7. Perdido on June 18th, 2018 6:35 am

    Tenants sure are into entertainment… They spend a lot of time and money for HDTV, Cable Service, I-phones, Stereos, Beer, etc… You know.. Important stuff.

    None of which teaches them anything or makes them any money.

    I’ve not owned a TV in 7 years..

  8. Perdido on June 18th, 2018 6:30 am

    Notice it is never the person’s fault for not having skills and knowledge to earn more money. Neither do they realize owning your own business it the key to independence. Nope.. Greedy landlords or the Gov’t’s Fault, of course.

    People pay for their bad decisions in life.

    Not learning is one big mistake.

  9. JP on June 18th, 2018 2:55 am

    I think this is more of an issue regarding low minimum wage. Let’s raise it and see what happens.

  10. Wes on June 17th, 2018 11:17 pm

    What people seem to not understand is, minimum wage jobs are not for people to live off of or buy a house or raise a family. Minimum is where most of your high schoolers and recent graduates work. I understand some people are not able to go out and get different jobs. Maybe a disability or something preventing them from working construction or something like that. But there are serveral jobs in Pensacola where you can sit at a desk and make a very good living. Minimum wage is for those who are just joining the work force. Not for the 20 year veterans.

  11. anne 1of2 on June 17th, 2018 7:20 pm

    The younger people seem to be thinking differently. They have seen too much. They are also better at math. They do not believe in a dream like worrying about payments for 30 years (renting the house from the bank) Let the landlords take the hit on the heating and air, water heaters, appliances, plumbing ,insurance, taxes, etc. Looks like they are barely making a profit. They are not stuck longer than a year if they want to change jobs and move to the other side of the country either. I know for sure they are smart people.. Just talk to a thirty year old.

  12. Molino Resident on June 17th, 2018 7:08 pm

    I’d like to know where you’ll find a two bedroom anything for 850 a month. I was just recently looking for apartments and the cheapest I could find in a decent part of town was about 700 a month for a 1 bedroom. Any two bedroom was at least 900 most of them over 1000. That may be an average but the lower end that is bringing that average down are crappy apartments in very bad parts of town where nobody wants to live. Pensacola is a dump pretty much everywhere except the middle of downtown but with all the snowbirds moving down here they have the money to pay the high prices owners want cause where they come from those rares are cheap. The difference is that employers don’t want to pay anything around here

  13. Frank on June 17th, 2018 5:48 pm

    Don, in ya 60’s – - know several of these walkers and they have had their License evoked due to DUI and if they worked they would mess up their SSI check.

    Like in Wash State minimum wage went to 15 workers ask they cut their hour now because it messed up their check from the government or their food stamps.

  14. No Excuses on June 17th, 2018 5:29 pm

    @David Stephens,

    I’m sorry for your situation, but luck had very little to do with where I am today. I had wise parents that insisted I go to school and get a degree. After that, I was immediately employed in my career field and have worked my tail end off for the last 34 plus years. That’s how I can afford what I have, and even then, it’s tight from time to time.

    There are ways to increase your income without losing your disability benefit. Check them out.

  15. David W. Stephens Sr. on June 17th, 2018 4:22 pm

    Greed, thats all it is and it comes from what? The elected people and they are very well off to do. They think they know what its like to be poor but they know nothing at all as to what its like to not know where your next meal will come from if at all. I know first hand because I’m living on a small disability check and when my rent is paid, there isn’t enough for food. And where do those that are able to afford nice homes, late model cars and eat out at fine restaraunts get their money? I have worked all my life and still do but I can’t afford a home. I guess some folks are just plain lucky.

  16. Rodney on June 17th, 2018 3:24 pm

    Rising insurance costs have also had an impact on housing costs. A 400% insurance increase has to be absorbed and the homeowner must protect their investment. If insurance companies are not regulated these expenses will continue to rise to the point that average income people will never experience the American dream of home ownership.

  17. Don on June 17th, 2018 12:50 pm

    I myself am in my 6o’s,disabled and worked many years before to pay off my mortgage,now I see everyday young, healthy people at all hours of the day walking up and down the road with sacks and sacks of groceries….if you can walk a mile for food you can walk a mile to apply for a JOB!

  18. Yvonne on June 17th, 2018 12:39 pm

    The main reason rental housing is so expensive is due government regulations! The development codes etc. 15 years ago an A/C unit would cost a landlord approximately $1000 today it’s $5,000! That cost has to be absorbed. The government bureaucrats are some of the issue with trying to develop affordable housing. They won’t allow it in many areas. So one of the biggest reasons rent is high is our elected officials and some of the things they put on us..in the name of protecting us from ourselves!

  19. Kane on June 17th, 2018 12:36 pm

    @Retired You are absolutely correct. After Ivan hit we had a large influx of workers from all over including other countries. Rental owners started letting workers rent dwellings together which meant you would have for example 5 or 6 people (sometimes more) in rental meant to only house two people. Naturally rental owners would up the price of the rental. A 500.00 a month rental unit went to 800.00 overnight and that was the small ones large rentals went into the thousands. After the cleanup was over and the workers left the prices never went down they have stayed this way ever since. To be fair some of the large home rentals did come back down just never to their pre-Ivan prices not even close.

  20. anne 1of2 on June 17th, 2018 11:43 am

    Now, this is my line of work. I have gracious homeowner who never goes up on the rent. Some of his tenants have been in the houses for 5 years. They take very good care of the houses too. He is getting older now and plans to sell these places to the tenants. Not to some greedy investor. I have learned it’s not all about money.

  21. Cindy on June 17th, 2018 10:38 am

    It’s because local business and government refuse to pay fair wages. You can make more at Walmart than most locals will pay you. Why work on slave wages when you can just steal for a living? The amount of theft in this area is outrageous.

  22. retired on June 17th, 2018 9:17 am

    Rent wasn’t so bad until Ivan, when we were short on houses. The rent doubled and never came down. I still have renters , that have been with me for 10 plus years, only paying 550.00. goes up about 5% a year. They also take take care of things and don’t just let things run into the ground. guess i have been lucky.

  23. Anne on June 17th, 2018 8:29 am

    WOW Reading this makes me shake my head in amazement.
    Is it that our area has low wages for the hourly employees in low skill jobs?
    Is it that our area has people renting their properties at a high amount because they can get it? Supply and Demand.

    How in the world can some of these families ever achieve “the American Dream” of owning their own home/
    Friend was looking at a house that two years ago sold for $200,000 and is again on the market with a price of $330,000 just crazy price jump.
    Builders are putting up houses like an Iowa farmer putting out corn seeds.
    Who can AFFORD these new houses?
    The Monster sized place downtown where the old PNJ was is still building and Who will rent-own, Where are they Now, What sort of jobs and salaries do they have? They are surely not the $8.25 per hour workers.
    Will the market once again CRASH like it did a few years ago?

    God Bless the Homeless and we must all Remember that only a few paychecks may be between us in our homes and being on the streets.

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