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Revisiting Housing Affordability in Florida - SB 102 Offers Good Solutions

The influx of residents to Florida has been overwhelmingly to the state’s urban areas (cities and towns over 50,000 residents according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Between 2010 and 2020, the state saw a 15 percent increase in urban residents. An estimated 87.7 percent of our residents live in these areas, making us a definitively urban-oriented state. Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando have seen unprecedented growth in the past few years, and there is no sign of it slowing.

To prepare and sustain such great population growth, Florida must consider how best to develop enough housing for all income brackets. The Florida TaxWatch March 2023 commentary “Florida’s Housing Market: Trends of Supply and Demand” discussed how housing construction has been lagging behind this increased demand. In order to address the housing shortage, Florida is pursuing innovative ways to incentivize developers to build affordable units across the state. 

In order to make housing more affordable and sustainable, we must look for innovative solutions. Amending zoning regulation to allow for diverse forms of housing may help ease costs, allowing for faster development to meet our housing demand. SB 102 is directly addressing this concern. By allowing developers to develop multi-family housing units in commercial and mixed-use zones, we will be able to build more housing on less land, potentially driving down the cost of housing. Furthermore, using vacant commercial lots to build these developments may provide a unique solution to our housing affordability crisis. 

Yet, increasing housing density is no silver bullet. There are dozens of key factors that go into the cost of a home, such as building material cost, interest rates, and location. Nevertheless, increasing housing supply through urban infill is a step in the right direction toward making Florida affordable, sustaining the state’s successful population growth and the prosperity associated with it. 

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