Rent prices in the Jacksonville metro area have increased by more than 30% since the start of the pandemic — more than twice the rate of inflation. In some neighborhoods, including San Jose and Arlington, rent prices have gone up by close to 40% over the past two years. Today, Jacksonville is the 13th most overpriced rental city in the U.S., according to one recent study.
Check out how much rent has changed in your neighborhood since the start of the COVID pandemic. And read on after the chart for 3 takeaways on Jacksonville’s rental spike — and what can be done about it.
- By and large, low-income tenants are being hit the hardest. Of the five ZIP codes that have seen their rent increase by more than 60% over the past half decade, three have a median household income of less than $32,000 a year, according to Census data. In rapidly gentrifying Springfield, average rent has spiked by more than 67% since 2017.
- While rents have been climbing in Jacksonville for years, the largest uptick has been during the pandemic. Areawide, rent increased by 48% over the past five years, with about two-thirds of that increase since March of 2020.
- Rent is not the only price spike, but among the most substantial. In just the past year, consumer goods increased by 8.5%, the largest increase in more than 30 years, while rent in the Jacksonville area jumped by 22%.
What can be done?
Some advocates are calling on the City Council to declare a housing state of emergency in Jacksonville, which could pave the way for a one-year rent control ordinance. "Please protect everyday Jacksonville folks that cannot contend with these high rent raises," Florida Rising's Maria Garcia pleaded with the Council this week.
Similarly, about two dozen Democratic lawmakers asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency statewide to address affordable housing late last year. That declaration would allow the government to tap into state reserves to administer rent relief programs. This week was the deadline to apply for the state's pot of federal emergency rent and utility assistance.
Neither DeSantis nor the Jacksonville City Council has moved to pass emergency rent relief. DeSantis has focused on building more housing as a solution. Locally, Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond has echoed that sentiment, saying more housing units is the answer. Some local city planning experts, like the The Jaxson’s Bill Delaney, say the city should ease zoning ordinances to make it easier to build multi-family units, like townhomes and duplexes.