By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It is getting more expensive for locals to live in South Florida, whether they’re renting or buying.

So why is the price tag so stiff?

“Most of those folks that came into my open house were from New York, New Jersey, Chicago, surprisingly a lot of people from California all of them indicate they were there because they were thinking about moving to South Florida,” said realtor Roger Lohse.

Those moves impact the price of buying or renting a home because Florida properties are a bargain for out-of-state or out-of-country buyers.

“When we get those people from New York and they say, ‘You are kidding me! Four-thousand square-feet for $2 million? I could get half the square feet for the same price,’” Lohse said.

So they buy standalone homes like what Lohse sells. They also buy condos, which are now on the upswing after lagging in sales recently.

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The law of supply and demand means this also impacts rent.

“I have seen major projects going up – rentals,” Lohse said. “That’s an indication people can’t afford to buy a home or have the deposit but they need a place to live.”

Recently, rents have had a slight decline in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, according to a survey by rental website RENTCafe.

But now there seems to be on the rebound.

In Fort Lauderdale, the average rent is almost $2,000 a month. Miami’s average is slightly under $1,700 a month. In Coral Gables, you’re looking at $2,500 and change a month. Doral is just over $2,000, while Homestead is a bargain at about $1,300 a month.

“I can tell you my rental properties that I own, I leased it out 5 months ago and I was able to get top dollar pretty quickly,” Lohse said.

A bellwether might be western Broward, where Pembroke Pines saw rents go up 3% and Miramar where rent is up almost 1.5 %.