South Florida as a defined region stretches from Palm Beach County, playground of the rich and famous, through Broward County, home to Fort Lauderdale, to Dade County, home to Miami and Miami Beach. This tri-county, 100 mile stretch—The Florida Gold Coast—is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades, and it is the most populated urban area in the state. About 5.4 million residents call this strip of land home year-round. And that’s not counting visitors, vacationers and snowbirds.
Fort Lauderdale, Pompano, Boca Raton, Palm Beach and West Palm Beach are some of the most prestigious area codes in the state, but diverse, metropolitan Miami, the largest city in Florida, and 4th largest city in the United States, dominates the region. A 2009 study by the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) ranked Miami the richest city in the United States.
But despite the UBS study, the economic downturn and subsequent recession has hit South Florida hard. Thousands of Miami residents lost jobs and homes. Faced with record unemployment, devalued property and foreclosures, Miami earned Forbes Magazine's 'Most Miserable City' designation in 2011.
Recovery on the Horizon?
Many professionals now feel the recession is behind us, economic markers show slight gains, employment and property values are on the upswing, and in some areas the future is looking bright for recovery. The real estate professionals in South Florida are noticing a difference too.
Liza Mendez of Pedro Realty International is a lifelong resident of South Florida with over 30 years’ experience as a real estate expert. “Miami has an enviable lifestyle,” she states. “Real estate is the backbone of the economy, and the robust performance of the Miami real estate market has strengthened the local economy, creating jobs, increasing spending and helping boost consumer confidence. Our market is certainly ‘post-recession’ following three record sales years and two years of double-digit appreciation.”