Downtown Miami’s Residential Occupancy Rate Surges To 74% As Condos Fill-Up
Miami’s urban core bustling with full-time residents; heightened demand for downtown living fueling condo sales, retail business growth.
Following one of the most historic boom-turned-busts in U.S. housing market history, Downtown Miami’s condo collapse has given way to new demand for urban living in an area previously considered to be a 9-to-5 business district. A new Residential Closings and Occupancy study by Goodkin Consulting/Focus Real Estate Advisors has found that 74% of the 22,079 residential units built in Downtown Miami since 2003 are currently occupied. This reflects a 12 percentage-point increase over the 62% occupancy rate reported in a similar baseline study completed in May 2009. Both reports were conducted in partnership with the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
Downtown Miami’s rising occupancy rate is the result of increased rental activity and new condo sales. The past year has seen an average of 345 new leases executed per month, while the fourth quarter of 2009 saw 350 condo closings per month, marking a 200% year-over-year increase in sales. As a result, the number of unoccupied new condos in the downtown area has fallen by more than 2,600 units since May 2009, with unsold inventory dropping from 8,000 to just over 7,000 condo units over the seven month period ending in December 2009. The population growth resulting from these trends is positively impacting Downtown Miami’s commercial base: a recent Integra Realty Resources survey of the 50-largest central business districts in the U.S. found that Downtown Miami’s retail vacancy rate of 5.06% is among the five lowest in the nation. These numbers mark a dramatic spike in retail demand over the past 18 months; Downtown Miami’s overall vacancy rate climbed as high as 12.5% in mid-2008, according to CoStar Group.
One of the most important outcomes of Downtown Miami’s residential occupancy boom is the newfound sense of community that’s energizing our City streets for the first time in history. With residential occupancy trends on the rise, the focus among officials at the Miami Downtown Development Authority now turns to ensuring Downtown Miami is equipped to meet the needs of its rapidly-expanding population. The DDA is working with partners in the public and private sectors to support commercial activity, sustain population growth, and fuel the energy that is emerging throughout Miami’s urban core.
Miami DDA initiatives currently underway include the creation of new green spaces, the activation of Downtown Miami’s waterfront, quality of life initiatives such as the free DWNTWN Concert series, and support for new business growth. At the same time, DDA officials are advocating for expanded police presence and new infrastructure investments, including enhanced public transit. Many of these programs are core components of the Downtown Miami Master Plan, which provides a long-term blueprint for Downtown Miami development.
According to Miami DDA Vice Chair and former Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin, even in the midst of a recession, a new neighborhood has been created. Downtown Miami is becoming an exciting place for people to go – a destination in its own right. It’s the South Beach story all over again, just a little bit different version.