Why Housing Affordability Matters

What is affordable housing?

Housing is considered affordable when a household spends no more than 30% of its monthly income on a home priced at fair market rate.

40% of households struggle

About 35% of the jobs in Collier County pay less than $35,000 per year and 58% pay less than $45,000 per year. Someone earning a $45,000 salary should be able to afford a housing payment of $1,125 per month but the 2023 median monthly rent in Collier County is almost double that at $2,230. Rent has increased 28% between 2020 to 2021, and an additional 25% between 2021 to 2022, for a total increase of more than 50% in the last two years. This is the highest increase in the United States. It easy to see that with more than half of Collier County’s salaried jobs being less than $45,000, many median-earning households cannot affordably live – rent or buy median-priced homes, which is averaging $571,500 in 2023. Because of this dynamic, providing more affordable housing options is crucial.

It’s also important to note that affordable housing is not the same as public or Section 8 housing. Affordable homes look just like regularly priced homes except the cost is reduced to help working-class families that meet certain income criteria thrive in our community.

Who is in greatest need?
Teachers, emergency responders, government employees, nurses, and other working-class families and individuals.

Who does housing affordability effect?

Who is affected by housing affordability

Housing affordability impacts everyone, whether they realize it or not. In Collier County, median home prices are among the highest in Florida. This has forced large segments of middle- and working-class families to either live here un-affordably or live in other counties, where they spend their money on homes, groceries, gas, and other expenses. They are people such as teachers, teacher’s aids, nursing assistants, medical technologists, retail workers, government employees, emergency services providers, and law enforcement. All the while, they commute to jobs in Collier County, which contributes to traffic congestion as well as negatively impacts quality of life and economic development.

 Housing affordability is a legal obligation. Every unit of local government in Florida is required by law to provide for the housing needs of its entire community pursuant to the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act of 1985 (Chapter 163, Part II, Florida Statutes, commonly referred to as the Growth Management Act). The Growth Management Act sets certain requirements for each element in the plan. The requirements for housing are found in 163.3177 (6)(F), Florida Statutes.

The state, through a contract with the Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing, provides every local government with data showing how many units of homeownership and rental units are needed within the jurisdiction. The data can be found here.

Affordable housing improves the economic health of a community. Aside from the legal obligation to provide housing for the entire current and anticipated population, every local government in Florida should provide a mix of housing so that it can continue to grow economically. When new industries evaluate a prospective community, one of the factors they consider is whether adequate workforce housing is available. New industries provide jobs and a substantial ad valorem tax base. To attract new industry and raise the ad valorem tax base of a community through the development of nonresidential properties, there must be an adequate inventory of affordable housing.

For hardworking families and individuals, housing affordability is particularly crucial in an area like Collier County. We need our emergency responders, nurses and teaching professionals to have a place to call home in the community where they work. This not only helps them and their families but, ultimately, it benefits all who live here.

To learn more about housing affordability in Collier County, please click here to read the Community Housing Plan. You may also read more from the Florida Housing Coalition here.