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Priced out of Paradise: City in Transition
Miami-Dade is the most expensive metro in the U.S. for renters and one of the costliest for home buyers. This series explains why that’s so and what it means for the region and its residents. Our interactive tool helps renters and buyers match their budgets to affordable neighborhoods. Future stories will explore solutions to South Florida’s housing crisis.
To find homes in South Florida for $300,000 or less, buyers have to either head north or head south. Just over the county line in Broward lies one of the region’s remaining affordable neighborhoods: Hollywood.
Known for its abundance of one-story single family homes, Hollywood remains a draw for middle-class first-time home buyers, said Realtor Ed Goldfarb. Of the around 1,200 Hollywood homes that sold in the last six months, 678 were single-family homes, and around half sold for under $300,000. The median home value has increased 7 percent in the last year.
A yellow three-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-story 1950s home on Scott Street listed for $295,000 sold for that price after less than two months on the market earlier this summer.
“Properties like these will go in a matter of days,” he said. Goldfarb estimated that about half of buyers at this price range commute to Miami for work.
The median household income for Hollywood’s 150,000 residents is $50,000, just below Broward County’s average of $55,000. Of the owners in 19,600 units with mortgages surveyed by the U.S. Census in 2017, more than one-third were spending more than 35 percent of their monthly income on housing costs. Schools in Hollywood have an average B rating from the Florida Department of Education. Property crime and personal crime rates are higher than Broward’s average.
Hollywood sits 20 miles north of downtown Miami, which means a traffic-filled Interstate 95 commute that could stretch as long as an hour and a half. Those commuting to downtown Fort Lauderdale are looking at a nine mile drive up U.S. 1 that could stretch as long as one hour.
With Hollywood Beach and the Downtown Hollywood district nearby, Hollywood remains a solid middle-class neighborhood, Goldfarb said.
If a house on the market for less than $300,000 is in good shape — as the one on Scott Street was — a family will usually move right in. Many will use mortgages through the U.S. Federal Housing Administration, Goldfarb said. The 1,414-square-foot Scott Street house has a good sized backyard on a 6,727-square-foot lot, covered car port, and a convenient alley entrance. It’s missing hurricane impact windows, which go for $20,000, according to Goldfarb.
For $257,000, a nearby 1,063-square-foot two-bedroom, one-bathroom house was ready for move in this summer, if you didn’t mind the AstroTurf in the front Florida room. Off of busy South 28th Avenue, the 1950s home on a 6,253-square-foot lot has aluminum awnings that double as hurricane shutters and carpeted bedrooms. The sizable backyard enclosed with a chain link fence needed mowing.
Those who don’t mind being farther inland will find better prices in the West Hollywood area between the Florida Turnpike and North University Drive.
On quiet 65th Terrace just a few blocks from the turnpike is a renovated 1,420-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on a 6,620-square-foot lot priced at $299,000. The entryway has 1960s style floor-to-ceiling angled mirrors and a carved out part of the wall where a fireplace used to be. The kitchen looks newly renovated with updated appliances, and the bathrooms both have full tubs.
“The further west you go the more you get for your money,” said Goldfarb.
If the house needs some work, an investor will buy the home, renovate it and sell it for around 15 percent more.
That was the case with a nearby 1,573-square-foot, 1950s three-bedroom, one-bathroom home on a large 8,448-square-foot lot off of South 25th Avenue that sold for $260,000 after two months on the market. It had new kitchen countertops and backsplash, and a garage. Although the ad said the place was ready to move in, Goldfarb said it needed a few updates, including appliances and an enclosure for the back patio.
“I would say about another $20,000 to finish it off. Not too bad,” he said.
David Scott, a Realtor, has lived and worked in Hollywood since the 1980s. The biggest change since then is more young people moving in. But he’s not surprised that Hollywood continues to be a popular spot for families.
“It’s a high point of land which makes it really stable,” he said. “East of Dixie Highway, that’s all flood plains, they have problems when we get rains, kind of what’s happening in Miami Beach now.”
With many climate change models projecting South Florida streets will be flooding daily by 2070, Scott thinks Hollywood will only become more popular.
“I think Hollywood is going to hold on longer than Miami Beach. We’re going to learn a lot from what happens to Miami and be five years behind them, that’s my gut feeling,” he said.
▪ Population: 44,667
▪Median household income: $38,090
▪Median age: 39.8
▪Main intersection: West Dixie Highway and Hollywood Boulevard
▪Drive time to downtown Miami: 34 minutes
▪Drive time to downtown Fort Lauderdale: 26 minutes
▪Average School Grade: B
▪Personal Crime Index: 169
Property Crime Index: 188
Source: U.S. Census data for ZIP code 33020