Tuesday July 19, 2005

What's Wrong with Housing Costs?

[Contributed by Steve Klotz]

Perhaps you picked up on the rumor that Miami is experiencing the most remarkable explosion in both building and real estate prices in the entire country. In downtown Miami, cranes (the building variety) now outnumber turkey vultures 3:1.

The downside seems to be that ordinary middle-class working people are being priced out of the market. Median price of existing single-family home is $354,900 in Miami-Dade; $367,000 in Broward. The Herald’s business section, spearheaded by chief hand-wringer Lisa Gibbs, has focused on the issue over the last few weeks, not providing any real answers, of course (it’s the Herald, remember?) but pointing out that it’s already a big problem, preventing local industry, schools, hospitals, etc., from attracting the level of talent the area needs.

“People aren’t willing to give up their more spacious living arrangements to relocate,” recruiters are saying. “They look at what it would cost for similar housing here, and decide they can’t afford it. So they stay put, and we lose them.”

Well pardon my sarong, as Bob Hope once said, but isn’t the real problem here the rate of compensation, not the cost of housing? Housing here would be affordable if Florida employers actually paid workers at a rate competitive with the markets where those workers are found.

I did some research. Here’s a comparison of average annual wages of major metropolitan areas throughout the country. Read ‘em and weep:

What’s the big mystery here? Why can’t the Herald figure this out? South Florida pays its employees at Banana Republic levels, ensuring a steady stream of mediocrity in its workforce. It’s immediately obvious to any newcomer: professional services, skilled workers, laborers, educators, journalists, even counter staff are below average. Every one of us has a horror story or ten about the low quality of work and worker one encounters in south Florida. It is one of many factors often cited in discussions regarding our status as a national laughingstock.

This only proves you get what you pay for. It ain’t the housing that’s the problem, Sherlock, it’s what you’re paying the housed.

[See all Articles by Steve]

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  1. Postal Worker    Wed Jul 20, 05:41 PM #  

    Shit. If YOU wanna work harder and work faster to make more money, get the hell outa Florida. We don’t need your kind here.

  2. Helloyul    Mon Nov 7, 09:16 PM #  

    Lousy jobs, lousy pay, lousy food, lousy service. An unintelligent, low class, high maintenance population. That sounds like South Florida. But it’s pretty!