Housing Shortage Critical Near Fla. Military Bases


Santa Rosa County officials, military leaders and others say housing shortages near Florida military bases are concerning. One official said it creates “readiness problems.”

PENSACOLA – During a meeting at Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County with Air Force Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, local leaders discussed the lack of affordable and attainable housing in Northwest Florida for civilian and military residents, particularly along U.S. Highway 98.

The average price of a single-family home in Milton rose to $330,000 in 2024 from $225,000 in 2020, according to developer Alexander Pryor, who is seeking approval for a project that includes 109 “attainable housing” units on Hickory Hammock Road.

At a Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners rezoning hearing, Pryor said out-of-state buyers and all-cash buyers are driving up home values, making them unaffordable for middle-income workers.

Nicole Gislason, director of the University of West Florida’s HAAS Center, said the cost of houses could be brought down by adding additional inventory in the county. Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Sam Parker said Bauernfeind is equally concerned about affordable housing.

Parker noted the housing concerns have cost the area 1,000 Air Force jobs that were moved to Arizona and Texas bases. He added, “Minutes matter. When guys are having to drive an hour and a half to their base it creates a readiness problem.” Under consideration is rezoning some agricultural land for additional housing.

Source: Pensacola News Journal (02/27/24) McLaughlin, Tom

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