Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


How South Florida’s surging housing costs are affecting students, faculty

Award winning housing economist Ken Johnson and Palm Beach County Mayor Gregg Weiss address surging housing costs.

Many students and faculty are feeling the pressures of South Florida’s extremely high costs of living. The Miami Metro area ranks number nine in the nation in terms of rent with the average cost of rent being $2,800, $1,000 higher than the national average.

Industry experts, local leaders, and students have varying viewpoints on how the rising cost of living is impacting faculty and students. 

Palm Beach County Mayor Gregg Weiss discusses his plans to solve the recent surge in costs. The county already has some affordable housing from new development, he said.

County residents aren’t always open to more housing in the community, the mayor says, which complicates the issue.

There’s a lot of pushback when it comes to building more housing, sometimes a community doesn’t want a bigger, taller building next to theirs. We are encouraging cities to build taller, denser buildings like you see in downtown to increase density. I also want to see more mixed-use projects. If you go to other countries, you’ll see homes on top of shopping centers and stores,” Weiss said.

Mayor Weiss also cites that the high cost of borrowing complicates the development of new projects.

“We also have interest rates at record highs, financing and building new projects is very difficult. The county is also trying to improve the wages of our constituents with various county programs.”

Ken Johnson, associate dean of graduate programs in the university’s College of Business, isn’t worried about high costs — to him, it’s a natural part of the business cycle.

“The housing market moves in a cycle; this has happened before [but] the rise in income will outpace the rise in rent and balance [each other] out,” Johnson said. “Historically, the way we solve high costs is by increasing wages, that’s how you catch up.”

Johnson suggests having more roommates or a second job historically is a temporary solution to high costs of living.

In the long run, I am not worried about things. I have seen these cycles before and I know prices will stabilize and I know wages will catch up…,” he said.

Johnson also credits a rapid increase in demand of people moving to South Florida after the pandemic for the high cost of living. 

“People aren’t moving to Florida to retire, a lot of people are moving here and bringing their income with them,” he said.  “…I think Florida was just caught off guard by the huge number of people who want to move to Florida, largely due to Covid.”

Victoria Jean-Julien, graduate student and director of the Graduate and Professional Student Association, shares her struggles with high costs of living.

A grad student who lives on campus versus one who lives off campus has a huge advantage. My first semester when I lived on campus, I had more time to study and could focus solely on school as I didn’t have to work two jobs,” Jean-Julien said.

She also shares the pressures of balancing a grad school workload and working two jobs.

“It has been a little bit of a struggle; the workload is double in grad school so having to work two jobs while trying to pursue school makes everything significantly harder.”

Professor of finance Anna Pomeranets wrote an email statement concerning the issue.

“In addition, the pressure of meeting financial obligations may force students to take out additional loan debt to cover their expenses and push students into the workforce quicker,” she wrote. “PhD students may pass up postdoctoral research opportunities or other academic positions that would otherwise enhance their academic credentials in the long-term because of the increased cost of living.”

Kirk Orr is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach him at [email protected].

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