Economic Insights

As South Florida Rents Rise, Renters Opt for Smaller Living Spaces and Older Neighborhoods in 2024

Economic Insights
Economic Insights from the MIAMI REALTORS Chief Economist

By Gay Cororaton, MIAMI REALTORS Chief Economist


As rents continue to increase in Southeast Florida, renters are opting for smaller living spaces and older units where the median asking rents tend to be lower than newer units, according to MIAMI MLS rent data.


However, many multifamily rentals that were built before 1990 are in coastal areas so the decision to rent smaller units could also be due to a lifestyle preference.


Among multifamily rentals, the median living area decreased to 891 sq. ft. , the second year in a row since 2022 (937 sq. ft.). Among single-family rentals, the median living area decreased to 1,833 sq. ft. , also the second year in a row (1,890 sq. ft. in 2022).


The share of multifamily units rented during January -May 2024 and built before 1990 has steadily increased to 58% (49% in Jan-May 2019) while the share of single-family homes rented during January-May 2024 and built before 1990 has increased to 54% (49% in Jan-May 2019).


Units built before 1990 are typically less expensive than units built after. Among multifamily units, the median rent for units built before 1980 was $2,000 compared to over $3,000 for units built after 2010. There is no significant rent difference across the age of single-family homes.


Lower rent in inland areas and the desire for a coastal lifestyle are attracting renters to older units


One reason for the rising share of units built before 1990 is the rent difference compared to newer units.


In January-May 2024 and in neighborhoods where half of the units rented were built after 2000, the median rent was over $3,000, such as 33131 (Brickell Miami), 33130 (Miami), 33132 (Dodge Island).


Rents were much lower with the median rent at $2,500 or lower in several neighborhoods that are inland and where half of the units rented were built before 1985, such as 33020 (Hollywood), 33134 (West Miami), 33143 (Miami), 33138 (Miami Shores), 33176 (Kendall), 33179 (Miami), 33065 (Coral Springs), and 33324 (Plantation).


However, another reason for the rising share of older units is that these units are in coastal areas, so the rising share of units rented before 1990 could be associated with a lifestyle choice and the type of renters. Popular coastal areas among renters are 33139 (Miami Beach), 33141 (Bay Harbor Islands), 33160 (North Miami Beach), 33140 (Miami Beach), and 33154 (Miami Beach). These areas tend to attract retirees, vacation homebuyers, and young 1-2 person households who are likely to prefer a coastal lifestyle.


Multifamily and single-family asking rents increased in most Southeast Florida counties in May 2024


Amid a healthy economy, sustained migration, affordability constraints, and a boost from seasonal demand, multifamily asking rents increased from the prior month in Miami-Dade (+1.8%), Martin (0.9%), and Palm Beach (0.6%), according to MIAMI MLS data and non-MLS data from Rental Beast, a platform with over 10 million rental listings. Asking rents were up for the fifth consecutive month from the prior month in Miami-Dade. In Broward and St. Lucie, asking rents held steady.


Multifamily asking rents are up significantly from the pre-pandemic levels in May 2019 across all counties, with rates of increase ranging from about 35% (Broward County) to 64% (Martin County). In Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, asking rents are up about 50%.


In May 2024, just 33% of zip codes had a median multifamily asking rent of below $2,000 compared to 83% in May 2019. Miami-Dade County has the highest median asking rent, at $2,900, while St. Lucie County has the lowest median asking rent, at $2,000.


Among single-family rentals, the median single-family asking rent rose from the prior month in Miami-Dade (1.4%), Martin (5.5%), and St. Lucie (0.9%) but was unchanged in Broward and slightly fell in Palm Beach (-0.3%). Asking rents held steady or rose for the fifth consecutive month from the prior month in Miami-Dade.


The median single-family asking rents are up about 50% to 70% since May 2019, with the highest rates of increase in the counties of Palm Beach (71.1%) and St. Lucie (61.8%).


In May 2024, only 2% of zip codes had a median single-family asking rent of $2,000 or below compared to 36% in May 2019.


Download the May 2024 Southeast Florida Residential Rental Market Report below.


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