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PolitiFact Florida | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in state politics

PolitiFact: A look at Marco Rubio's West Miami home

Forget for a minute about the awkward grasp for a plastic bottle of Poland Spring before millions on live TV.

There's something else in U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's response to the State of the Union last week that is riling up the blogosphere.

Where does Rubio live?

President Barack Obama loves to say people who don't agree with him are rich, Rubio said on Tuesday. Rubio went on to emphasize his own middle-class Republican cred.

"Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren't millionaires. They're retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They're workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They're immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy."

Some bloggers jabbed Rubio for omitting details about his West Miami crib.

The headline of a post from Miami gossip columnist Jose Lambiet: "Marco Rubio: I still live in da hood — sorta!" Lambiet included a slew of photos of Rubio's home on his blog, including his living room, kitchen, and backyard pool, trampoline, wooden fort and patio surrounded by a tall green hedge. Miami New Times dinged Rubio for his "humbleboast."

What's their beef?

One, Rubio did not mention his home is for sale. Rubio wants to sell the four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home and buy one in D.C. so he can see his kids more often, spokesman Alex Conant told The Daily Caller in January. Rubio rents a room in a Capitol Hill apartment, Conant said.

"If he can sell his home in Miami, he would be able to afford to move his wife and kids to Washington during the school year and still own a home in Florida," Conant told us in an email.

And two, at a listing price of $675,000, the two-story, 2,700-square-foot home on a cul de sac is not what some may consider "working class."

From New Times: West Miami is, in fact, a fairly blue collar town, just west of tonier Coral Gables. But it's pretty brazen to put your residence there in a nationally televised speech when 1) you are actively trying to leave that working-class neighborhood and 2) you stand to make more than a half-million bucks by doing so.

Rubio and wife Jeanette bought the home in 2005 for $550,000, the same year it was built. The sale garnered controversy for Rubio in 2008 when the Miami Herald reported Rubio failed to disclose a $135,000 equity line he obtained from a bank run by political supporters after taking out his mortgage.

Rubio's Realtor and brother-in-law, Orlando Cicilia of Centrust Realty, told us Rubio's home is one of the nicer ones in his neighborhood.

"It's all a working-class neighborhood," he said. "You've got some executives, and you have a lot of regular people there."

Cicilia said he found the home for Rubio at a construction price in 2005. Cicilia, married to Rubio's older sister, lives in Rubio's childhood home about half a mile away. Cicilia did not want to elaborate on that.

The neighborhood is in a central location close to pricier Coral Gables, the airport, shopping malls and other businesses. About 27,000 people live in Rubio's ZIP code (33144), according to the Census Bureau's 2007-11 American Community Survey.

Of those, 74 percent of the people are Cuban, and about 71 percent are foreign-born, according to Census data. The average years of education is 12, a high school diploma.

The median household income is $37,556. Less than 1 percent of households there make more than $200,000 a year.

And while Rubio's home is going for $675,000, the median home value of an owner-occupied home is significantly lower at $311,475, according to 2010 census data. Zillow.com put the median home list value in West Miami at $202,600.

Rubio said he still lives in the "same working-class neighborhood" he grew up in. Yes, but he is looking to leave. We rate his claim Mostly True.

The statement

"I still live in the same working-class neighborhood I grew up in."

Marco Rubio, in GOP response to Obama's State of the Union

The ruling

Politifact ruling: Mostly true
Rubio does live in a West Miami neighborhood where the median household income is $37,556, but he is looking to move his family to D.C. We rate his claim Mostly True.

PolitiFact: A look at Marco Rubio's West Miami home 02/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, February 17, 2013 10:43pm]
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