After years of hardship, the real estate market in Miami is up to cruising speed. Less than a month ago, Amancio Ortega, the Spanish tycoon and owner of Inditex, paid 330 million euros for a building that houses a huge Apple store on Lincoln Road, the main shopping street of Miami Beach, a purchase that was the second most expensive commercial transaction in the history of the city. And a few days ago, an individual whose identity is still unknown broke another record with the acquisition of a home: 53 million euros for an apartment of over 2,000 square meters (21,527 square feet) and sea views.
This property boom is especially visible in the city center and the financial district, where they are building huge skyscrapers in unexpected spaces. The cranes are part of the landscape of the city center, also tormented by the noise and congestion caused by the work. The speed with which the buildings are constructed and sold are additional elements that show how hot the real estate sector is. Celebrated architects like Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Cesar Pelli and Frank Gehry are behind some of the projects that include residential towers, museums and shopping malls.
And who puts up the money? Many people are involved, but outstanding are Chinese, Brazilian, Venezuelan and Argentine investors, who find in the heat of Florida a good shelter for money safe from political or economic shocks. In the collective imagination, Miami represents the legal security of a world power and an ideal place for recreation and rest in which no one seems to feel like a foreigner.
Following the housing bust eight years ago that sunk Miami into a kind of depression that made housing prices and rents fall to unexpected levels, all the stakeholders are assuming that this time there is no bubble, the giant has no feet of clay and that the city has embarked on a straight and safe path. Sound familiar?