Key West
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The rebuilding of Key West

Millie Bringle is a bartender at the boisterous Meson de Pepe Cuban eatery and a real estate office manager by day. She’s among the growing number of Key West residents who are having a hard time keeping up with skyrocketing home prices and a high cost of living. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)
The turquoise waters off Key West have generated a huge tourism trade, which is feeling the pinch of the recent flight of the workforce — at least 14% of those younger than 55 have left the area in the last few years. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)
More lavish developments have been replacing working-class rentals and mobile homes along the Keys. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)
Smathers Beach along the southern shore is a hot spot for vacationers and retirees. “The baby boomers are retiring and the successful ones are looking for their McMansions in the sun,” says Key West historian Tom Hambright. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)
Despite Florida’s 3% cap on annual property tax rate increases, the working class is being priced out of Key West’s increasingly pricey housing market. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)
Houseboats at the city marina are a popular alternative in the housing market. Although average wages in the Keys are 9% lower than the rest of Florida, residents on average pay more than 50% of monthly income on housing. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)
The demolished remains of a mobile home park await removal on Stock Island. More than 2,400 mobile homes have disappeared from the Keys since 1990. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)
An influx of wealthy buyers and tourists has propelled the development of luxury condos and hotels along the waterfront. (Rob O’Neal / For The Times)