Miami locals blame New Yorkers for driving up rents
The cost of renting an apartment in Miami is soaring — and locals are pointing the finger at newly arrived New Yorkers who flocked south not only for the sunshine but for Florida’s low taxes and relaxed COVID restrictions.
A new survey by Realtor.com found that rents for Miami-area apartments have risen 58% since March 2020 — the fastest rate for any major US metropolitan area.
Landlords of some of Miami’s luxury apartments have hiked prices by as much as 160 percent from last year as overall inventory has fallen to a fraction of what it was at the start of the pandemic, real estate agents told The Post.
Craig Studnicky, a Jersey Shore transplant who owns a condo on Sunny Isles Beach and who is now CEO of luxury real estate firm ISG World, said that “thousands” of New Yorkers have moved south in the last two years.
“It was all a reaction to COVID,” Studnicky told The Post. “COVID was the catalyst that pushed so many people out of their quandary.”
Studnicky said that as New Yorkers arrived, most of them decided that they would initially rent “because they weren’t sure which neighborhood of Miami” they wanted to buy a home in.
“A lot of these people chose to rent, but we didn’t have so much supply,” he said.
Bigger families have been hit by sticker shock the most as prices for a three-bedroom apartment have skyrocketed to $9,400 a month, a 160 percent jump from the same time last year, according to Rent.com.
Two-bedroom apartments have increased by 40 percent, to an average of $3,897 a month. A one-bedroom rental is going for an average of $3,184, a 26 percent spike, while studios have surged 34 percent at $2,662.
Substantial increases in rent have also been recorded in nearby cities like Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton.
“Miami has been calling for New Yorkers to come down and they got their wish with COVID,” Cody Vichinsky, the co-founder of Bespoke Real Estate, told The Post.
He said that a greater number of “high-end, affluent” New Yorkers are putting down roots in the Miami area. That includes paying premium prices to rent condos, since they still save given the other offsets that Florida offers in terms of cost of living and lower taxes.
“It’s not just a fleeting snowbird season, and because of that people are more comfortable spending more money there,” Vichinsky said.
New Yorkers who relocate to South Florida generally work in tech or finance. Those who don’t buy properties on Miami Beach choose to rent in attractive areas like downtown, particularly in the “core” neighborhoods of Brickell, Edgewater, and Wynwood.
Ryan Cerny, a 25-year-old tech salesman, moved to South Florida from Westchester County in January of 2020 — weeks before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
He told The Post that he and a roommate were paying $1,750 a month for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,000-square-foot condo in the heart of downtown.
Cerny said they were told to leave when the unit was sold earlier this year. The new landlord claimed he could fetch $2,800 a month, he told The Post.
One of the perks of living in Florida during the pandemic, Cerny said, was that restrictions such as mask mandates and lockdowns were lifted much quicker there compared to New York.
The atmosphere in Miami “was nothing compared to the cautiousness” that was prevalent in New York, he said.
Several locals told The Wall Street Journal that New Yorkers were primarily to blame for the surging rents. But real estate agents and transplants from the tri-state area who spoke to The Post said the story is more complicated.
The combination of record lows in inventory — exacerbated by hyperinflation and the surging costs of construction — and the rising demand to live in an area with warm weather year-round have left locals in a lurch.
Real estate agents note that there are also plenty of California transplants who have relocated to South Florida.
Ari Goldberg, founder and CEO of realtor RLBLC, told The Post: “You don’t want people to get priced out of neighborhoods, but I’d be very curious to hear the people complaining about the rise in rent also complain about the rise in income or quality of people that are coming.”
Miami has become an attractive destination, he said, because the city has a business infrastructure that confers upon it a status as a “gateway for capital from Latin America.”
He said the influx of people who have moved to Miami enjoy the revitalized restaurant and art scene.
“As someone who’s in Miami, Miami is having a moment right now,” he said.