Community Contributor
6:24 am
Mon July 1, 2013

South Florida High Cost Of Living Outpaces Incomes, Realtor Says

I resigned a position in November 2012. The income was decent, but the position I resigned was 42 miles north in Broward County. Gas and tolls cost about $600 per month. While the pay was a very good income seven years ago, a lack of raises meant it was no longer adequate. In the past few years we have seen drastic increases in home insurance cost, gas, health insurance, food, and electricity. Yet income levels have not increased to keep pace with the expenses.

I am one of the fortunate ones. As a licensed real estate broker I can sell real estate without a full-time salaried position. The recession meant layoffs of many of the people I worked with. The real estate industry was hit hard, and broker/owners were forced to make tough decisions to keep their companies afloat. Not all succeeded.

I am currently working with buyers who are looking for their first home in Dade County. They have been pre-approved for an FHA loan for a property up to $100,000. We have been looking and making offers for the last three months. The majority of properties are in price ranges well above the buyers’ limit, and the number of condominium communities still approved for FHA loans is about a dozen. Condominium owners need to be educated regarding the benefits of having FHA approval for their communities, and FHA may need to relax the rules.

South Florida is an amazing place populated by a very diverse culture of people. I honestly believe that Greater Miami today is at its best. There is something for everyone here. However, it is fast becoming a place where the expense and the income are not compatible. If we are not careful, we will see more and more of our bright, talented people leave.

Winnie Smith is a Miami native living in Kendale Lakes. She is a broker associate with Prudential Florida Realty. This post came from a member of the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with The Miami Herald and WLRN. Become a news source for WLRN by going to WLRN.org/Insight.