INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - A new study found that Sebastian/Vero Beach residents pay a higher percentage of their income to rent than any metro region in the entire country.

According to the authors of the study by, a national real estate company, the “rule of thumb that says no more than 30% of your monthly income should go towards rent has all but been thrown out the window” in Sebastian, Vero Beach, and much of Florida.

To find which cities and states pay the most and least percentage of their income towards rent, the company analyzed the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. They used data on gross rents as a percentage of household incomes for all the states and metros with a population above 50,000.

The analysts found the percentage of people in each metro that pay more than 35% of their income towards rent, and then ranked the top 50 as the most expensive to rent relative to income.

The highest in the nation was Sebastian/Vero Beach, where 61% pay more than 35% of their income to rent, compared to 42% nationally.

Port St. Lucie only fared slightly better, ranking 7th highest in the nation with 54% paying more than 35% of their income to rent. In Miami-Fort Lauderdale, slightly over 54% pay more than 35% of their income to rent, the 8th highest in the country.

The analysts found that 49% of renters in Florida spend more than 35% of their monthly income on rent. That is the highest percentage of overburdened renters in a state in the U.S.

On that metric of most expensive states to rent, Florida was followed by Louisiana (48% pay more than 35% of their income for rent); Hawaii (47%); California (46%); Nevada (46%); New York (44%); Delaware (44%); Mississippi (43%); New Jersey (43%); and Colorado (43%).

The top ten most expensive metros for renters in Florida were Sebastian-Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Punta Gorda, Naples-Marco Island, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, and Cape Coral-Fort Myers.

The company blames the high rental costs in part on the pandemic, which led many people to seek to work remotely from home permanently. That desire led many to move to more desirable cities, skyrocketing demand for housing while outpacing supply and leading to significant rent hikes.

Now, the report says, the rate at which rents are increasing nationally seems to be slowing down, but rental rates still increased year-over-year by 9% in September. Wages, they say, haven’t kept up, resulting in very high percentages of income having to be allocated toward rent.

On the flip side of the affordability scale, only 4% of Sebastian/Vero Beach residents pay 15% or less of their income to rent, among the fewest in the nation. In Port St. Lucie and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, 7% of renters pay less than 15% of income for rent.

No Florida cities made the top 50 list of metro areas with the least expensive rents relative to income.

The study concluded that “our research shows that, in many places, the 30% rule (a budgeting rule of thumb that says no more than 30% of your monthly income should go towards rent or housing) has all but been thrown out the window due to necessity. Our data has found that, for many Americans, this long-regarded piece of advice isn’t possible anymore in many places in the U.S.”

To read the full report, visit

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