Miami residents are in a rush to move New Yorkers driving up apartment rents

Natalia Solar moved to a 49-story luxury tower in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood two years ago. She and a roommate paid $3,300 a month for a two-bedroom apartment in a building with an Equinox fitness club, rooftop pool and 24-hour concierge service.

She renewed the following year for $3,500. Then, when his lease expired earlier this year, the landlord announced shocking news: he was doubling the rent to $7,000 a month.

Ms. Solar looked at other apartments in the building, but each two-bedroom condo available for rent cost between $6,000 and $7,000. Even with the recent pay raise at a law firm where she works as a paralegal, she couldn’t afford those prices and left the building.

“We’re being chased by these people who aren’t Miami natives,” she said. “It happens with everyone I know who rents.”

Natalia Solar is leaving Brickell Heights, a 49-story luxury tower in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood that includes an Equinox fitness club, rooftop pool and 24-hour concierge service.


Photo:

Deborah Acosta/The Wall Street Journal

Apartment rents in the Miami area have climbed 58% over the past two years through March, the fastest rate of any metropolitan area in the United States, according to Realtor.com. This compares to a national average rent increase of 19% over this period.

But in some of Miami’s most desirable neighborhoods, like Brickell, Edgewater, and Downtown, rents have gone up far more than that. For at least a dozen high-end buildings in these hotspots, individual condo owners renting out their apartments have been asking for rents at double last year’s prices, according to real estate agents and tenants.

These quantum leaps reflect the recent migration of so many finance and tech professionals who are flocking to Miami, lured by Florida’s year-round warm weather, lower taxes and what newcomers say is an environment more conducive to business than places like California or New York.

Many of these new Miami residents have well-paying jobs and are accustomed to significantly higher rents in expensive West Coast and Northeast cities, making even Miami’s highest rents reasonable.

Alex Marks, a new transplant from New York, works at a fintech company and rents apartments next door. Her first apartment, a two-bedroom 40th-floor water-view apartment in the Brickell neighborhood, cost $2,800 when she arrived and now renews at $6,500.


Photo:

Deborah Acosta/The Wall Street Journal

Sammy Mancini is one of Miami’s newest transplants. Her old apartment was in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, where she lived in “a tiny little shoebox” with two friends, she said.

In 2021, Ms. Mancini quit her job, found another New York-based job that allowed remote work, and moved to Miami that year.

“My friends were telling me how much they were paying for their apartments, and I was thinking ‘wow, that’s nothing compared to what I was paying in New York’,” she said.

In New York’s East Village, she and her two friends incorporated a third bedroom into their apartment by installing a temporary wall in the living room. She split the $6,000 rent and paid nearly $2,000 for a room that barely fit her bed, she said.

Francesca Levy Nabors has moved from her luxury 26th-floor apartment with a view of the rooftops to a third-floor apartment with a view of a warehouse.


Photo:

Deborah Acosta/The Wall Street Journal

Now she lives in her own luxury unit with floor-to-ceiling windows and two pool decks. Her luxury one-bedroom apartment in Brickell was rented for $2,600, though those same units now cost more than $4,000.

His real estate agent, Alex Marks, is also a new transplant from New York. He works at a fintech company based in Paris and rents apartments next door because the business has become so lucrative. Her first apartment, a two-bedroom 40th-floor water-view apartment in the Brickell neighborhood, cost $2,800 when she arrived and now renews at $6,500.

“Everyone says, ‘When is this going to break, when is the bubble going to burst?’ “said Mr. Marks. “I honestly think this is the new Miami.”

Bidding wars for homes for sale in Miami have become commonplace over the past year. Now these competitions are breaking out between tenants. To secure an apartment in the most desirable neighborhoods, tenants are offering between $200 and $500 more than the monthly asking rent, while some agree to pay a year’s rent up front, according to residents and real estate agents. .

“Whatever was listed, the price was fictitious; everything would be much higher than asked,” said Carlos Cortes, a Miami resident whose price was out of downtown.

He also ran into tenants willing to write a check for 12 months’ rent. Mr Cortes tried to move to the Brickell area but was outbid twice by people who offered to pay an entire year up front.

Instead, he moved to the Edgewater neighborhood, which is a little further from his office, offering $300 above demand and paying four months in advance.

Many businesses moving to Miami also pay a full year’s rent for their employees, said Elliot Machado, an associate broker at One Sotheby’s International who represents condo owners renting units.

He said he has seen this practice among technology and financial companies in Chicago, California and the Northeast. He also saw New Yorkers paying for rentals a year in advance as they looked for property to buy in Miami.

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Miami unit owners are aware of the recent influx of well-heeled tenants from out of state. Many think why not double the asking price and see what happens, according to Machado.

“Every homeowner wants to swing for the fences,” he said.

They don’t always go out of the park. A landlord of a high-rise apartment in Biscayne Bay reduced his asking rent to $4,500 from $5,000 after finding no takers, Mr Machado added.

Soaring rents are painful for locals like Francesca Levy Nabors. She and her husband grew up in South Florida. After earning a master’s degree from New York University and her husband from Harvard Law School, they moved back to the Miami area to be closer to their family.

When they returned from the Northeast, they had an apartment in Miami on the 26th floor of a luxury building with a view of the water. But after moving over the weekend, they settled into a third-floor apartment with a view of a warehouse.

“It feels like you’ve done everything right in your life to be able to put yourself in a good financial position,” she said. “Then rents doubled in what seems like overnight.”

Write to Deborah Acosta at [email protected]

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