Locals and city leaders speak on affordable housing options in Panama City Beach

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Living on the beach will cost you, at least that's what some locals say.

"It's expensive, man. It ain't no affordable places out here," Caleb Green, a Panama City Beach local said.

Some locals say paying rent in Panama City Beach is a challenge.

"If you want some affordable places, it's the other side of the bridge. That's where it's at," Green said.

Jarvis Gordon is the owner of JD Tremec, a janitorial service in Panama City Beach.

Gordon says he's lived on the beach for ten years and the cost of living has really gone up.

"The condo rental market is booming right now. With me being in the janitorial service I know this. They can't find enough people who are gonna clean their vacation rentals," Gordon explained. "Not to mention that the pay for some of those people is ten dollars, nine dollars an hour. That's ridiculous. How can they even afford to stay near some of these places that they are cleaning?"

City leaders have a different take on the issue.

"When you live in a beach community it's actually quite hard to find workforce housing within those communities and I think the beach offers a far better opportunity than places like Destin," Mario Gisbert, Panama City Beach city manager said.

Gisbert says there is workforce housing on the beach, but most of it is within the older neighborhoods and apartment complexes.

He says there are several complexes under construction in Panama City Beach.

"With some of the older houses that we have, they're quite reasonable in price. In my mind, there are some good places for people to live," Gisbert said.

Some say living near the water can demand deeper pockets.

"Because of the access to the beach and because of our infrastructure that cost money to keep our 17 million visitors happy," Gisbert explained. "It's an upgraded community, therefore, it cost a little bit more to live here."

Gordon says the cost is too high for many who work in the area.

"You gotta think about it. If you have a salary of $30,000 to $40,000 to pay $1,050 a month just in rental fees, it's gonna be kind of overwhelming," Gordon said.

According to the Bay County Economic Development Alliance the median household income in Bay County for 2017 was just under $50,000.

ApartmentList.com posted a 2016 report for Florida Apartment Rent prices.

Data showed that a one bedroom in Panama City Beach was about $950 a month. A two bedroom apartment was about $1,380 a month.

Prices were drastically different in Panama City with a one bedroom apartment costing on average $690 and a two bedroom at $800.

Still, the price of a one bedroom apartment in the state in 2016 was averaged at $1,100 and a two bedroom at $1,400.

The study found that the most expensive rent prices were in Miami, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, and Fort Lauderdale.