Report shows high-rent prices making it hard to live in SWFL, much of the state

Published: July 14, 2021 9:43 PM EDT
Updated: July 14, 2021 11:09 PM EDT

High-rent prices are making it harder for many people to make ends meet in Florida, and that includes Southwest Florida – one of the most expensive areas to rent in the state.

According to the 2021 Out of Reach report, an individual would have to make more than $26 an hour to afford housing in parts of Collier County. On average, someone would have to work nearly three full-time jobs at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom rental home.

We looked at salaries for teachers and firefighters, and it looks like some of them would struggle to pay rent. Some of those jobs start around $30,000 to $40,000 annual salaries, and there are a lot of people who don’t make that much year-round.

“I feel like it can get overwhelming,” Deshawn Layne said.

Having the essentials is not always easy.

“I’ve been renting down here for a good minute,” said Layne, who lives in Collier County. “With everything going on and how it’s going high, I feel like they’re not reasonable.”

Layne agrees rent prices are sky high and sometimes hard to pay up.

“They can’t breathe because there is just so much more they have to come up with to pay this,” Layne said.

According to the report, the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island area is one of the top five most expensive areas to rent. The average two-bedroom apartment or home is more than $1,300 in monthly rent.

“Because prices are higher here, we do see a lot of people renting, and a lot of new construction, luxury apartments and rentals,” Realtor Michelle Jackson said.

That means to live comfortably, people would need to make on average $55,000 annually.

To put it into perspective, teachers in Collier County make yearly salaries of $30,000 to $52,000, and starting EMS and firefighters make $44,000 to $76,000 each year.

For some people, including Grant Henderson, it’s what drove him away from renting, and he decided to buy a home.

“I noticed that rent and property prices were going up, and I was renting, and it was going up,” Henderson said. “I decided I was getting tired of that.”

The salaries needed to live comfortably in Cape Coral and Fort Myers are almost $48,000 each year. In Punta Gorda, it’s more than $42,000.

Unfortunately, Jackson says she thinks the trend will continue.

“We predict it to continue on for about a year and a half,” Jackson said. “We don’t see it tanking or anything like that.”