Who’s Buying Into the Miami Metro Lifestyle? Moves Forecast Real Estate Investment

By Nick Christian, VP and General Manager of Suddath South Florida

Nick Christian is VP and General Manager of Suddath

MIAMI, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2019) – The Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area is hot right now – both in terms of housing demands and prices. The Suddath Companies has operated in the region for 67 years and – as a company committed to moving people, businesses, and products across the globe – we have seen an amazing amount of change here. We recently analyzed a survey of people moving to the area and gained a fresh perspective on who is moving here and why, and how real estate development can adapt to meet our new neighbors’ needs.

It isn’t just retirees searching for their perfect paradise that the area is attracting – large numbers of young adults are also coming, hungry for new opportunity. At both ends of the career spectrum, these new residents are looking for similar things, including community amenities and a metropolitan lifestyle. With smart real estate development, South Florida can better support both age groups and make the area even stronger.

Florida has emerged from the recession of the previous decade as a land of unlimited opportunity, especially our booming urban areas. While a recent Census report may have shown that population growth in South Florida has slowed, the influx of new residents would still make most regions envious.

We wanted to understand why those people keep coming, and we learned that a new job or company transfer was the top motivation for individuals moving to the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. Two in five of these heads of households (39%) are between ages 18 and 44. Family needs will factor heavily into their home planning: Almost half of incoming Miami-Fort Lauderdale residents are households of three or more people.

While the area is already rich with housing options, we should expect demand for even more suburban construction. Families with young children may want access to outdoor play areas and green spaces, whether in their own backyards or at community playgrounds and splash parks. Families with school-age children will want to live near highly rated public and private schooling options, and families with older children may be thinking about the shape of their approaching empty nest.

At the same time, our sunny skies, warm temperatures, and natural amenities make us a paradise for retirees. This long-time reality comes as a surprise to no one, but our analysis confirms that the trend hasn’t slowed down: 44% of newcomers to the area are age 55 and older, and almost one in five new residents cited retirement as their main motivation for coming here.

These older residents are likely to choose a home with flexibility in mind – able to accommodate family visitors but offering low-maintenance lifestyles. This translates to smaller homes, perhaps with lawns, ground, and amenities maintained by the community or homeowners’ associations. They are likely to be thinking about mobility challenges, meaning single-story homes with wider hallways and doorways -- and bathrooms that can be outfitted with benches and handrails. Convenient access to health and wellness facilities and other community services also be important.

In more ways than one, residents young and old may be looking for the same thing: the “South Florida lifestyle.” One in nine of new residents surveyed identified a new lifestyle as their primary reason to choose the area. They want comfort and convenience, including more walkable communities that offer accessible entertainment and dining spaces, along with a healthy dose of culture and a nearby urban experience.

This South Florida lifestyle is where opportunities for both innovation and relaxation abound. Whether new residents move here to start a new job, flourish in the midst of a thriving career, or enjoy a well-earned retirement, the real estate market can adapt to meet the needs of an ever-changing, always-growing population of sunshine seekers.

Nick Christian is VP and General Manager of Suddath®, a leading global transportation, relocation and logistics company, which serves the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area.