Inventory of homes less than $250k decreasing in St. Johns County
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — In St. Johns County, the housing market is changing. That’s according the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce President Isabelle Renault.
There are more houses there now than ever before. And while the inventory is high, but the inventory of middle class homes is low.
The chamber recently paid for study of on the county’s housing crisis, which found homes are out of reach for essential employees.
“So it becomes something really where the backbone of the community services is being challenged,” Renault said.
There is a housing boom in the St. Johns County, and most of the new homes are not affordable for the middle class. It’s a trend the study determined has been the case for 20 years.
Meanwhile, the inventory of homes the middle class can afford is decreasing.
Renault pointed to a graph which shows the amount of houses that cost less than $250,000 has decreased since 2000. In contrast, the number of homes that cost between $250,000 – $499,000 have risen dramatically.
According to the report, in 2021, there almost five times more houses available that were between $250,000 and $500,000.
And that lower $250,000 figure is determined to be affordable only if two essential workers – such as a teacher and a sheriff’s deputy — are sharing a house together.
“Three times your household income is kind of what you can afford to buy,” Bill Lazar with St. Johns Housing Partnership said. He helps people find homes they can afford and stay in them. New rental units are high as well.
“Developers that say. ‘I’m going to build a rental community,’ they’re not building rents under $2,000 a month. You know. So it’s like, ‘Okay, who’s that helping?'”
And Lazar says the economics for the developers are tough right now too.
“When you’re financing all the infrastructure and the land costs, trying to get that to where someone earning less than $70,000 a year can buy a house… or even rent… is a real challenge,” he said.
The Chamber of Commerce has formed an Attainable Housing Coalition, gathering community members and businesses to come up with sustainable answers to a housing market that is out of reach for the people who keep the county running.