MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This week marks one year on the job for U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana sat down with Secretary Castro for a one-on-one interview, where he talked about how South Florida is faring in the housing recovery.
“There’s no question that the Miami real estate market is hot,” Castro said. “I remember coming with my wife to Miami in 2007 or 2008 and seeing all the condos that were being built, but they were empty, half built. Now you come to Miami and it’s booming. The flip side is you see a rental affordability crunch in the city.”
A recent Zillow survey shows the average household in Miami spends over 40 percent of its income to rent a home.
And US Census data reveals the homeownership rate fell to 63.4 percent last quarter…the lowest it’s been since 1967.
Castro says his department is working to make the dream of owning a home a reality for responsible and qualified buyers.
He calls HUD “The Department of Opportunity,” and Castro may have a big opportunity of his own coming up.
There’s speculation he’s being considered as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton.
He says he’s flattered by the prospect of his political future, but he’s focused on the present.
“I’ve learned that the best way to have a good future is to concentrate on what’s in front of you so I’m trying to concentrate on doing a great job at HUD,” he said.
Castro burst on to the national political stage with his speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where he shared his family’s background and Mexican roots.
He was the mayor of San Antonio, TX at the time.
Now, three years later, he’s in charge at HUD and marked his first anniversary as secretary on Tuesday.
“I’m a year old,” he joked. “I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I’ve visited something like 48 different cities in 28 different states.”
He said his department is working on programs to reduce homelessness and increase home affordability.
Castro spoke at the National Urban League’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday.