Broward County‘s average apartment rental rate in February was $1,579, up 8 percent from a year ago, according to Reinhold P. Wolff Economic Research in Oakland Park.
Palm Beach County‘s average apartment rent was $1,530, also up 8 percent.
Miami-Dade County saw a 6 percent jump, to $1,660 from $1,609.
“These kind of increases can’t be sustained for long periods of time,” L. Keith White, president of Wolff, said Monday. “We can’t go on for three or four more years like this. It has to level off at some point.”
Vacancy rates in all three South Florida counties are less than 4 percent, according to Wolff.
The rental market already has strongly favored landlords for several years. Little new construction of apartments during the recession and increased demand from former homeowners have put pressure on all renters.
“Young adults either can’t afford to buy a home or they don’t want to be bothered with the hassle of owning one,” Sam Radbil, senior communications manager for the Abodo.com rental website, said in a statement. “This has led to more demand for rentals and an increase in price.”
High rents and slow wage growth have made South Florida the least affordable spot in the nation for renters, according to a study released in March by Capital One and the NYU Furman Center.
In 2014, the most recent data available, median gross rent in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties was $1,150, compared with an average of $970 for other metropolitan areas, the study found. The tri-county region’s median household income of $34,300 was the lowest of 11 metros studied and $1,500 below the median among metros nationwide.
Meanwhile, a report from apartment search firm Zumper.com says the city of Miami is the eighth most expensive rental market in the country, with one-bedroom rents at a median of $1,900 a month, up about 9 percent from a year ago. Fort Lauderdale ($1,500) and West Palm Beach ($1,065) were not ranked in the top 10.
San Francisco was the nation’s most expensive rental market, with a one-bedroom rent median of $3,590 a month, the study found. New York was second at $3,340 a month.
“While developers are building more units in South Florida and across the country, it will take a while before the market shifts toward renters,” said Devin O’Brien, head of marketing for Zumper.com. “Demand is much higher than supply, particularly in urban areas. It’s going to be like this for at least the next few years until construction catches up to the needs in these cities.”