Affordable Housing Data available through University of Florida

Guest Correspondence

Contained within University of Florida, there is a department focused on Florida housing called The Shimberg Center for Housing. According to their website, they “work in close partnership with Florida Housing Finance Corporation to provide data and analysis to guide Florida’s affordable housing efforts.” This center has research, publications, a data clearinghouse and the Flood Hazard + Housing Information Network for Florida Coastal Communities.

The website contains a lot of information to explore. You can find data for almost anything. However, there are different ways of measuring data and you have to pay attention to what is being measured. Rent is a great example. Using the Market Rent Tracker in the Florida Housing Data and Clearinghouse available on the website, median rent measurements (the midpoint of the range of rents) and market measurements (what a person would pay currently seeking an apartment) paint different stories in Sarasota County.

The market rent tracker reflects that one-bedroom unit experienced a median-measured peak rent of $1,642 in February 2022. Since that time, median rent has been slowly declining. In 2023, rent is down 2% from 2022, and the latest data in August reflects the median rent to be $1,474.

Two-bedroom units are seeing a similar trend. The median-measured peak rent for two-bedroom units occurred in February 2022. The median-measured rent was $2,019. Now, median rent is down 2% from last year and is currently at $1,812.

However, rent measured at market rate, tells you what a new apartment hunter is actually facing when they look for a place to rent. The Zillow Observed Rent Index reflected a high, occurring in January of this year, at $2,590. In both June and July of this year, it was at $2,509.

Those differing measurements reflected very different numbers and timing trends.

County historical data is also available on the site going back over 50 years. Some of this data is in the Parcels and Sales tab. For example, you can look at measurements of new residential parcel builds by decade. 

The decade with the biggest number of new builds since 1960 was 2000-2009, with 33,290 residential parcels built. That was the decade of the Great Recession, where building came to a virtual halt in 2008. That number was mainly supplied by eight years of builds. 

The decade of 2010-2019 only saw a little more than half of the previous decade, with 18,842 single family homes built. Most of those, 13,589, were built in the last half of that decade. 

The data in this set only goes to 2021, but the current decade started strong in its first 2 years. Over 3.500 units were built in 2020 and also again in 2021.

The Shimberg Center website is an important resource for Florida communities to explore and better understand the data surrounding the affordable housing crisis. For more information, go to

Christine Robinson is the Executive Director of the Argus Foundation


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