It’s getting easier to find an apartment in Volusia County as it seems like we’ve been getting a new one in the county opened every three months.

But what we’ve been getting are all labeled luxury apartments with rent starting at more than $1,000 a month.

What we haven’t been getting are any new affordable apartments. In fact, I can only think of two new ones in the past two years and they were both in DeLand. In fact, when I last wrote about affordable apartments, The Pines in DeLand was just starting construction and would add 100 units.

There were 4,884 affordable apartments in Volusia at the start of 2020, according to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. occupancy report. The rate of occupancy was about 96% at that time.

But then Lake Forest apartments in Daytona Beach converted to market rate, taking 240 units out of the mix. That was after Lexington Club with 214 units and Taylor Place at 106 units, both in DeLand, apparently converted to market rate last year.

Hopefully the apartments planned on North Clyde Morris Boulevard in Daytona Beach will get built and that will add back 240 units.

But for now, occupancy in the FHFC report in June was still at about 96%.

There is other affordable housing, either from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development voucher programs and some local housing authorities have other affordable apartments. There are even a lot of market rate apartments that don’t charge that much.

Of course, affordable is a relative term. The current fair market rent for Volusia, as set by HUD, is $750 for an efficiency, $900 for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,111 for a two-bedroom, $1,494 for a three-bedroom and $1,690 for a four-bedroom. Still, when you see where the market rate apartments are heading, it’s not that bad.

Regardless, Volusia County is going to need a lot more affordable housing, especially with the economic fallout from the pandemic. We just need some motivated developers to get it done.

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A few large commercial real estate deals just went down with Palm Coast investors buying the apartments at 125 S. Orchard St. for $2.7 million. A small apartment complex at 2901 S. Atlantic Ave., NSB, sold for $1.15 million. A local businessman bought the old strip center at 1248 Mason Ave., Daytona Beach, for $350,000.

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A couple of miscellaneous items include the permitting process continuing for Oceans 25, a townhouse project at 2900 S. Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach Shores. Construction is starting on Starbucks at 491 E. Third Ave. in New Smyrna Beach.

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On a final note, if you were wondering how Brown & Brown is doing and whether they can afford that big new headquarters they’re building in downtown Daytona Beach, they’re latest quarterly financial report seemed rather good. The Daytona Beach-based public company reported revenue for the second quarter of $598.8 million, up $23.6 million or 4.1% from 2019. Net income was at $96.8 million, up $4.2 million or 4.5%.

Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 23 years. Contact him at cbrumley@hometownnewsmediagroup.com (no hyphens) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.

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