“Well, how’s the rental market in Miami?”
I will readily admit that some of my choices in life haven’t been the best, while others were made out of necessity and lack of resources. At this particular time, I was facing the consequences of a decision made from all of the above and had left me with less than two weeks to find a new place for myself and my cat-child in one of the toughest rental markets in the country. In fact, I found this article in the New York Times to illustrate my point, and may reference a few times going forward (I haven’t decided yet):
“I guess it might be time to leave Miami, then, huh?”
What? No. Why?
I’ve heard many of friends in the years, some who have left and others that have stayed, whine about the Magic City. Everyone is fake. The traffic is terrible. It’s too expensive. There aren’t enough well paying jobs. Yes, here is a long list of reasons why one would seek greener pastures looking at the current picture. But is it really the full picture?
When I was introduced to all the things there was to whine about, a change was already starting to happen. In the time I’ve lived in Miami-Dade, I’ve seen Wynwood transform from a questionable and dying neighborhood to a thriving arts district. Ultra turned into a global movement. Critical Mass went from a few hundred riders to well over 1000, every month, with the likes of our local celebrities. Every Winter Music Conference, Miami Spice and Art Basel, the Arscht Center and the Perez Art Museum, organizations such as Emerge and Refresh, new brew pubs and breweries popping up everywhere; they all spoke to me. They told me that we, as a community, are fighting for something better than a vapid shopping mall for tourists who confine Miami’s borders to South Beach (not even in Miami, bro).
The conversation with my concerned friend asked me to consider what we’re fighting against. Yes, there are corrupt politicians, people here can be crazy and self-contained, and the State of Florida has a long standing history of being a scam incubator. But these aren’t the reasons we’ve failed to “grow up” yet. A lot of the fundamental problems you see here have existed at one time or another in most metropolitan areas.
My mind, wandering as it usually does, has come to the conclusion that the woes that troubled me were, on a grander scale, the same woes that plagued my lovely swamp. If there is a severe deficit of affordable housing, why are there luxury condos being built like a rash all over the only areas with a reasonable public transportation system? As the aforementioned New York Times article mentioned, there is a bottomless pit of money coming into Miami from Latin America, and boy, do those Latin sugar daddies love their luxury condos. For better or worse (and honestly, actually probably worse), those luxury condos, once gobbled up like candy of the exorbitantly wealthy, will stand empty for most of the year.
So what does that mean in the grand scheme of, “Oh golly, whatever can we do about Miami?”
Miami being the capital of Latin American real estate investors simply translates that those who are invested in our property and capitalizing on foreign business are not invested in our community. If you’re here only a few months out of the year and don’t call Miami your home, what do you care of our culture, our economy, or our poor?
When Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine proclaimed to all the world that Miami Beach becoming a technology hub is the “dumbest idea in the world,” the Knight Foundation responded with a beautifully written article about the shifts in Miami’s economic landscape. You can read the entire piece here:
TL;DR? Miami is PRIME (and I mean that in all of it’s capitalized, screaming glory) to make a name for itself beyond it’s history of a tourism based economy. Here is an easy to digest summary:
- A study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found Miami ranked numero uno in entrepreneurial activity per capita.
- Miami ranks 7th in the nation of college students per capita.
- Miami is rapidly urbanizing and has “recorded the fastest increase in well-educated young adults living in close-in urban neighborhoods of any large metro area in the nation.”
- You read that part I wrote about all the cultural growth Miami has witnessed in the last few years? Yeah, that’s in there, too.
Ultimately, the grand soluti… errr, rejuvenation of Miami lies in this wonderfully quaint motto: all the money and talent in Miami should STAY. IN. MIAMI. If we all just invested a little more in our swamp kingdom, it shouldn’t be shocking at all what can be accomplished in a few short years.
(And maybe we should limit the amount of real estate bought or rented by foreigners? Policy makers :cough:. Just sayin.’)