PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The price of living in the paradise we call South Florida is out of reach for many workers.
That is what a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found in its annual comparison of rents and hourly wages.
In Palm Beach County, the average rent of a two bedroom apartment is $1,434, which means you would have to earn an hourly wage of $27.58 to afford it.
In Martin and St. Lucie County, the average rent is $1,105, so you need to take home an hourly wage of $21.25.
In Okeechobee County, you can pay a lot less in rent at $775 for a two-bedroom. In Indian River County, it’s $961, which is an hourly income of $18.48.
The study included some of the major cities in South Florida like West Palm Beach, where the average is $1,434 for a two-bedroom rental.
But those who are working on massive downtown development including new business, new hotel, and new apartments said the numbers are not comparing apples to apples.
"We are attracting a demographic that yes, they may be working a few extra hours to offset that luxury living you find in West Palm Beach, but I think they are willing to do so," said Teneka Feaman, Assistant Director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority.
At a recent ribbon cutting on the new luxury Park-Line Apartments, developers touted the improvements to downtown and how much is now included when you choose to live downtown.
"People are finding that they want to have a home were they can be in close proximity to commuting, that they have connectivity, mobility, and walkability. That’s added value," said Kris Avery, General Manager for Park-Line Palm Beaches.
The growing number of renters also helps fuel the economy through shopping, dinings and entertaining in the city, and that causes a ripple effect that helps the city in general, said downtown development leaders.