Sunny skies, balmy breezes, sandy beaches and a beautiful city with uniquely flavored neighborhoods. We have a lot to be thankful for in Miami, although you wouldn't think so if all you hear and read about is the real estate crisis and the doom scenarios described in the media. In all, there is this seemingly global perception that Miami is caving in under the burden of great misfortune.
We know better, however, because, in fact, there are some very good stories to be told. The main one is that, although real estate prices climbed out of control in the last few years, and most Miamians felt that they would never be able to own a home, things have changed for the better. Despite having seen prices spiral up at a rate way greater than any salary increases they ever hoped to receive, now those in our most important service occupations, like the police, teachers, and nurses, as well as single moms, newlyweds and young families can afford to buy. In addition, we currently have government support for first time and moving up buyers. And, for those who got into mortgages they couldn't afford and are facing foreclosure, there is assistance in place, such as the Miami-Dade County foreclosure mediation program. We are thankful for all these people who now have or will have a home of their own.
Sure, we are going through a period of economic evolution where the survival of the fittest is the merciless rule. Businesses without the talent, sophistication and financial muscle necessary to last through these unforgiving circumstances are making way for new or established enterprises that can change and adapt to the churning landscape. It's hard to be thankful for that but this is a tough, immutable law that, in the end, clears the way for innovative and more successful ventures. Simultaneously, commercial real estate is going through its own adjustment process where overvalued properties and those owned by failing businesses are available at prices below replacement cost. Fortunately, these are being snapped up by smart entrepreneurs: Businesses who were leasing their space can now afford to buy, and those who own can afford to move up.
In fact, for every owner losing a property, there's an opportunistic investor making the deal of his or her life. Now it's easy on the pocket to own a luxury condo with an ocean view in Miami Beach, or Coconut Grove, or in an urban, Mediterranean environment in Coral Gables. Investors can find a hotel on the beach, or a distribution facility close to Miami International Airport, or an office building in downtown Miami at prices that in a few years will seem absolutely ridiculous. When things turn around, those who took advantage of these times are going to be thankful they did, because there's a lot of money to be made in Miami real estate.
Above and beyond all that, as we look into the future, we are thankful in the confidence that the sun will keep shining on our beautiful city, that tourists and foreign buyers will keep coming, that global trade will keep flowing in and out of our port and airport, and that international businesses will still recognize our strategic location as the center of the Americas. Miami will always be Miami, and there's only one.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Note: For information on the beautiful condo featured in the accompanying slide show, please contact the author at Alicia@AliciaWillen.com.