Mall may widen gap between renters, homeowners
Article by Josh Salman via Herald Tribune
The new Mall at University Town Center is expected to lift values for middle-class homes that pepper the University Parkway corridor.
BY THE NUMBERS
• 4,827 home sales during third quarter
• $195,650 median home price
• $1,355 average three-bedroom rent
• 108-year wait for subsidized one-bedroom housing
• 1,700 condo-style housing units planned for the mall by Benderson Development
But because developers have generally failed to meet rental demand for the 2,000 mall workers, avoiding earlier agreements to build affordable housing as part of UTC approvals, apartment rents that are climbing at the fastest clip in a decade are projected to rise further out of reach.
That could widen the gap between homeowners and renters in this region, boosting competition for housing near the mall and further tightening supply.
Analysts say that scenario will benefit homeowners already in a comfortable living situation, while making it harder for workers living paycheck-to-paycheck to find decent digs nearby.
“It’s great the mall will create these additional jobs, but the vast majority are hourly with no benefits, and the cost of living has gone up so much, most of these folks will have to live somewhere else and drive to the mall,” said Jack McCabe, a Florida real estate consultant.
“There’s just nothing affordable within walking distance, and the rapid rise in rental rates is far outpacing what most workers can afford,” McCabe said.
Median home prices during the third quarter reached $195,650 in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area, a figure that continues to flirt with its post-recession peak, Realtor data show.
Meanwhile, the average fair market rent for a three-bedroom home in Sarasota and Manatee was $1,355 in August, according to industry researcher RealtyTrac Inc.