MIAMI, FL – June 11, 2009 – 62% of the residential units completed in Downtown Miami since 2003 are occupied and the closing rate is accelerating despite obstacles to financing, according to a Residential Closings & Occupancy
Study conducted by independent research firm Goodki n Consulting/ Focus Real Estate Advisors
“This is the first study since the start of the construction boom that provides a complete picture of the number of people living in Downtown Miami,” said Lewis M. Goodkin, CRE, FRICS, MIRM, founder of Goodkin Consulting. “Our research indicates that sixty-two percent of units in new Downtown Miami buildings are occupied by a combination of owners and renters, defying the perception that the majority of high-rises built in recent years are empty.”
According to Craig Werley, founder and president of Focus Real Estate Advisors, the increasingly attractive pricing and location of Downtown Miami continues to generate demand from both buyers and renters in the marketplace. “Considering the financial roadblocks that many homebuyers have faced over the past year, the sales activity that we’ve seen in recent months is encouraging.”
The study suggests that heightened demand for urban living, new programs aimed at easing home financing restrictions, record low interest rates and further price discounting will likely accelerate the closing rate – with arrival at market equilibrium probable within three to four years. Occupancy will trend upward in that span as the existing inventory is absorbed and no new residential buildings are built, according to Goodkin.
“The results of this study underscore what those here already know: Downtown Miami is alive and well,” said Alyce Robertson, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority. “Our growing residential population is drawn to our waterfront location, entertainment and cultural offerings, strong commercial base, and to our standing as Florida’s largest employment center. Those moving here are full-time residents who are populating our City streets and fueling the local economy.”
Robertson added that the report sends a clear signal that Downtown Miami is at the forefront of South Florida’s rebound from the worst residential real estate collapse in history, and speaks directly to a growing demand for urban living.
Significant findings from the Miami DDA-Goodkin/Focus Closings and Occupancy Study include:
· Condominium inventory and discounted trading prices will continue to enhance the attractiveness and affordability of the urban lifestyle in the downtown area.
· Of the 21,616 new condominium units completed, 13,337 have closed and 98.6% of the closed units are occupied.
· Average monthly sales of new units during the past three months increased over the three months prior, with a 12-month average of approximately 70 recorded closings per month.
· The average monthly sales and leasing activity of new units has been averaging approximately 350 units per month.
· During the four year period from 2004 through 2007, an average of more than 2,000 condo units were absorbed annually; in 2008, more than 4,200 units were sold, despite the collapsed housing market and general economic recession.
· Of the total inventory of residential properties for sale in Miami-Dade County last month, 26% are located in Downtown Miami.
· Historically, more than 70% of Downtown Miami residents were renters. So the balanced 50:50 mix between owners and renters in new Downtown condominiums indicates a steady increase in home ownership among area residents.
“Up to now, much attention has been focused on Downtown Miami’s excess inventory of condominiums,” said Goodkin. “With this study, we have established that there is a healthy occupancy in Downtown that we anticipate will steadily increase as buyers and renters take advantage of the return to realistic pricing in the housing market.”
The survey results support projections forecasting continued population growth in Downtown Miami. According to U.S. Census’ projections, since 2000, the Downtown area’s residential base has grown from 40,000 to 60,000, with more than 10,000 residents expected to move in over the next six years.
The DDA plans to update this study on a regular basis, and expand the scope to the entire residential building base of Downtown Miami to have a better understanding of the growing residential population.
“Just by walking around on Brickell or Biscayne, it’s clear that the new Downtown residential population is filled with a diversity of people who are adding vibrancy to the area,” said Robertson. “The more we can glean about this demographic, the better positioned retailers and service providers will be to meet their needs.”
To download a free copy of the full report and methodology employed, please visit www.miamidda.com.
About the Miami Downtown Development Authority
The Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is committed to improving the quality of life for businesses, employees, residents, and visitors in downtown Miami. As an independent agency of the City of Miami, the Miami DDA supports business growth, infrastructure improvements, and services for Downtown Miami residents and stakeholders. In addition to its programs and initiatives, the Miami DDA is partnering with the City and other government entities to strengthen Downtown Miami’s position as an international center for commerce, culture, and tourism. The organization is governed by a 15-member board comprised of three public appointees and 12 downtown property owners, residents and/or workers. For more information about the Miami DDA and Downtown Miami, please visit www.MiamiDDA.com.