South Florida heats up with ‘unprecedented’ growth, transforms into ‘most dynamic city in the world’
Miami Mayor Suarez, ISG World CEO talk turning South Florida into a global financial capital
While many may consider Miami as a destination to vacation, as opposed to a place to live, the city’s sprawling economy and mayor’s contemporary leadership has now put South Florida on the map as a global family and financial hotspot.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the first ever local-born mayor, has long touted the "Miami miracle" model since winning re-election in 2021: low taxes, low crime and leaning into innovation. Alongside real estate developing giant ISG World, new county-wide data is showing exactly how South Florida’s housing market and population has boomed in the last year.
Ahead of Suarez and ISG World CEO Craig Studnicky’s keynote discussion about their 14th annual "Miami Report," the mayor told Fox News Digital that Miami has become "the most dynamic city in the world." He also hinted that direct flights from Miami International Airport to Tokyo and Saudi Arabia are in the works to meet this goal.
"We want to be, what I call, the essential aggregation point for capital and the central deployment point for capital in the world. That is my vision, and I think that's what's going to create the most amount of prosperity for the most amount of Miami, as we call it, ‘Miami for everyone,’" Suarez said. "We want to make sure that everyone in our city benefits."
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"In early 2020, when we were all in quarantine, Mayor Suarez crisscrossed the country and basically sold the idea very effectively that we are a very business-friendly city, on top of the Miami miracle, and it has worked," Studnicky also told Fox News Digital.
Across the three largest South Florida counties – Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach – Suarez’ territory saw the largest number of new residents throughout 2022, fueling a high demand for housing.
According to ISG World’s 2023 research analysis, the number of total active listings for single-family homes and condos in all three counties decreased 24% from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023, indicating that properties are quickly getting scooped up.
The average sales price for single-family homes across all South Florida counties thus increased greatly in the same time frame, up 8% from $1,233,500 to $1,335,594. Despite the pricey average, "C-class" or affordable housing listings saw the greatest annual increase when compared to prime location or waterfront properties, increasing by roughly 152% from 2022 to 2023.
"Right now we have in the pipeline of units to be built, somewhere in the vicinity of 40,000 residential units. We just came out of a round of $100 million worth of affordable housing. We think affordable housing is a key factor in helping these companies grow because not everyone is a C-suite employee. We need to make sure that everyone that's working in the company has a place to live," Suarez explained.
"South Florida's been maturing quite nicely over the last five or 10 years. We have this new train called Brightline, and it's mentioned many times in realtor conversations because I like how it united all three counties," Studnicky added. "There are a lot of people that work in downtown Miami, but they live in Fort Lauderdale or they live up in Palm Beach, or the other way around. So we are drawing in our housing needs from all three counties now, not just Miami-Dade."
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The Sunshine State’s workforce ended the year larger than New York's for the first time ever in 2022, and Suarez indicated many of those employees are here on behalf of the private equity sector.
"We've moved approximately $2.5 trillion worth of [assets under management] companies in Miami," the mayor said. "You're talking about Citadel, you're talking about Blackstone, you're talking about Starwood Capital, you're talking about Millennium… these are some of the biggest names in venture, the biggest names in private equity, which is why we've created about 9,000 jobs in the last few years, over $9 billion in wages, which is why we're number one in the nation in wage growth, and it's created a tremendous amount of prosperity for our citizens."
"What was 122 companies just six months ago has now morphed into 134 major companies that are relocating to South Florida, and they're bringing a lot of their people with them. This is not just unprecedented for Miami, I know I looked it up – this is unprecedented for any U.S. city ever. And we're in giant momentum right now because of the efforts of Mayor Suarez," ISG World’s CEO continued.
Suarez claimed Miami is going through a "metamorphosis," transforming out of a highly industrial economy and into a growing digital economy. For the mayor, it’s a "dream come true" to oversee the city he grew up in.
Miami’s starting to see a sort of "boomerang effect," which Suarez explained includes "bringing back Miamians, who grew up in this community, went to great high schools, went to phenomenal Ivy League-caliber schools, and unfortunately oftentimes couldn't come back because the jobs were not available. Now we're going to see something called boomerang stories. We're going to tell their stories of how they came back."
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The mayor has teased rumors of a potential 2024 presidential bid as a rising star of the Republican Party. Suarez told Fox News Digital that he plans to announce his decision "pretty soon."
"We have to think that the first debate is on Aug. 20, and for someone who wants to introduce themselves to the country, who maybe has a great record but maybe isn't well known in terms of our story, the Miami model story, you have to be on that stage to have an opportunity to tell that story," Suarez said.
"I think one of the great things about the Republican Party right now is they're embracing competition," Miami’s mayor added, "which is what this country is about."