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Yacob Reyes
By Yacob Reyes May 16, 2022

Florida rents are high, but Crist exaggerates with New York market comparison

If Your Time is short

  • Only Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach had a median rent that surpassed New York City. Rental prices across other major cities in Florida, like Tampa and Orlando, are less expensive than in New York City. 

  • When looking at ownership and rental premiums, rent across several Florida cities, like Fort Myers and Tampa, was more overvalued than in New York City.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democratic candidate for governor, laid bare what he thought was at stake on the ballot for Florida voters this November: affordable housing. 

Floridians "are ready for a governor that is focused on the real issues facing our state," Crist said at a May 4 press conference. "This is the real crisis: It costs more to live in many Florida cities than New York City."  

Florida residents are struggling against the backdrop of rising rental prices, explosive demand and limited supply. But are rents as steep as Crist made it seem? 

It’s a bit more complicated than his comparison suggests.

Most Florida cities are less expensive than New York City 

The cost of living in Florida has risen significantly since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Rent prices have particularly skyrocketed from West Palm Beach to Miami, according to data maintained by published a report in March indicating that the median rent in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area increased about 57% in the last year. 

The report examined 50 "core-based statistical areas," meaning geographic regions drafted by the White House Office of Management and Budget that often consist of two or more socioeconomically-tied counties.

South Florida, with a median rent of $2,988 a month, outpaced New York City’s median rent of $2,750 in March, per the report. The tri-county region also experienced growth at a faster year-over-year pace than New York City. 

Other large metro areas in Florida, however, lagged behind New York City in median rent. For example, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area had a median rent of $2,114 a month, an annual increase of around 30%.

The median rent price in Jacksonville was $1,580, and the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area was $1,886.

So, New York’s median rent is actually higher than most Florida cities. When looking at for-sale home prices, New York City’s median asking price is also more expensive. 

"From the standpoint of actual rents and property prices, the New York metro remains one of the most expensive metros in the country," said Ken Johnson, a real estate economist and dean of Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. 

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Florida’s rental and ownership premiums outpace New York City

Crist's characterization is more accurate from the standpoint of rental and ownership premiums, or the percentage difference between the statistically estimated prices of a metro area and its current prices. 

Real estate economists measure rental and ownership premiums to assist consumers in gauging whether their current market is over or underpriced. 

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Alabama analyzed large rental markets across the U.S. and developed a ranking of the most overpriced areas

Of the 25 most overvalued rental markets in the nation, the highest five are all in Florida. 

"Six months ago, only a couple of Florida metros could be found in the Top 25 of this ranking," Johnson told PolitiFact. "Thus, Florida markets appear to be rising through this ranking very quickly."

The research showed the residents living in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Tampa, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton and Port St. Lucie are paying rent that is overpriced. 

In Miami-Fort Lauderdale, for example, renters are paying around 21% more than what they should be, based on the area’s long-term trends. That is the most overvalued market in Florida.

Meanwhile, New York City wasn’t featured on the list. According to another study measuring more than 100 U.S. rental markets, New York City ranked 98th. 

"In terms of a premium, the New York metro is one of the least expensive metros in the country," Johnson said. 

Our ruling

Crist said, "It costs more to live in many Florida cities than New York City."  

PolitiFact found that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area’s median rent exceeded New York City's. However, while Florida cities have experienced record growth, their median rental prices still lag behind New York City.

Crist has more of a point when it comes to rental and ownership premiums. According to a study analyzing more than 1oo U.S. rental markets, New York City had one of the least overpriced rents in the country. 

We rate Crist’s claim Half True.

Our Sources

Charlie Crist, Facebook Post, May 4, 2022

Email interview with Sam Ramirez, Crist’s press secretary, May 6, 2022

Email interview with Ken Johnson, a real estate economist, May 6, 2022

Email interview with Rachel Conner, communications manager at, May 9, 2022, March Rental Report, assessed May 6, 2022, April 2022 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report, assessed May 10, 2022

Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay has the 3rd most ‘overvalued’ rent prices, study finds, May 4, 2022

Florida Atlantic University, Most Overvalued U.S. Rental Markets, assessed May 6, 2022

Florida Atlantic University, Top 100 U.S. Housing Markets, assessed May 6, 2022

Florida Atlantic University, Florida Dominates List of 25 Most Overvalued U.S. Rental Markers, May 3, 2022

WPTV, Miami bypasses New York City as least affordable housing market in US, Feb. 18, 2022


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Florida rents are high, but Crist exaggerates with New York market comparison

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