This month, Jeff Morr will step down as chair of the Miami Master Brokers Forum after assuming the position in 2013.
Through leading this elite network of the area’s top residential real estate pros (and as a busy agent and broker), he had the privilege of witnessing and taking part in some extraordinary developments that have shaped the unique market over this span of time.
In recognition of this closure, and with gratitude to his colleagues, he presents the seven trends he considers the most impactful in Miami real estate over the past seven years.
1. Clean Money Is Good For Everyone
To summarize my August 2018 Miami Herald column on this topic: The U.S. Treasury Department’s 2016 “geographical targeting order” (GTO), which required shell companies buying high-priced Miami homes with cash to reveal their “true” owners to the government, delivered some short-term pain to the market, but the long-term benefits have been well worth the discomfort. The GTO stopped criminals, terrorists, tax evaders, and foreign governments from using luxury real estate to launder their dirty cash, and proved that Miami didn’t need illegal money to enjoy a healthy, thriving market.
2. Super Low-Interest Rates Make Borrowing Easy
We remain firmly entrenched in a very long run of historically low interest rates, and the Federal Reserve indicated in September that they intend to keep these rates low for years to come. This has been a clear boon for local real estate, allowing consumers to borrow astonishingly “cheap” money to purchase homes, and existing homeowners to save money by refinancing, as the value of those homes rise steadily. (The downsides of this phenomenon are reduced inventory and higher prices, making it difficult for first-time and low-to-mid-income buyers to purchase Miami homes.)
3. More Flights Change The Game
Miami has always had a direct relationship between non-stop travel routes and real estate growth and prosperity, and this has certainly been the case these past seven years. Prior to COVID, our success was powered by affluent foreign buyers; primarily from Latin America but increasingly from emerging markets such as the Middle East, India, and Asia. For many of these buyers, the availability of direct flights to and from Miami has been a major deciding factor in their investment decisions, and we are fortunate that the number of flights has increased since 2013. In 2020, COVID and tax laws brought a surge of domestic buyers escaping cramped metro areas, who simultaneously realized they could live here and virtually maintain businesses in their “home” cities. Once COVID is under control, I believe we can expect a fresh surge of pent-up demand from typically reliable international buyers, who will globalize this trend even further.
4. Agents Must Be Sharper, Faster, More Nimble And Plugged In
COVID was a transformational pivot point for our industry, dramatically accelerating trends that might have taken many more years to fully realize. Social distancing guidelines required real estate agents like me to quickly cast aside outdated, wasteful practices we had relied upon for too long. For example, hours and days of our time would be spent showing properties to prospective buyers or hosting open houses in the hopes of connecting buyers with sellers. We quickly shifted to a new model that uses high-quality drone videos and immersive, three-dimensional technology to let buyers assess and “self-filter” preferred listings on their own time, while simultaneously reducing the number (and raising the viability) of prospects physically seeing the home. This new dynamic is remarkably more efficient for everyone involved.
5. Technology Is King (To A Point)
The aforementioned transformation was only made possible by the rapid advancements in real estate technology over the past decade. In just a few short years, agents have been empowered to research, market, list, communicate, negotiate, and close sales easily and effectively from one device. Over that same time frame, digital and social media marketing has become more sophisticated, affordable, and easier to use. (And yet…with all this technology, there will never be a substitute for the knowledge and skill of experienced humans to guide other humans through the complexity of a typical real estate transaction.)
6. New “Hot” Neighborhoods Will Always Emerge
Wynwood…the Design District…Edgewater… North Beach…at some point or another over the past several years, each of these have held the coveted mantle as Miami’s “hot” new neighborhood; clearly destined for a surge of real estate value, business development, and general hipness. While some have fulfilled that destiny and others are still waiting for their day in the sun, I take this as another sign of Miami’s emergence as a world-class city. (I see all you former New Yorkers nodding your heads in agreement.)
7. Future Is Extremely Bright
When the global financial crisis hit in 2007, Miami’s real estate market certainly struggled – but by the time I started my tenure in 2013, we had already rebounded quite well. The first two months of COVID were also pretty scary – and then the tax refugees from the northeast, California, and Chicago propelled Miami’s single-family home market to dramatic heights, where it sits today. I would not suggest that Miami is immune to the challenges faced by other U.S. metro areas, but time has shown our market to be incredibly resilient in the face of great difficulties. With promising COVID vaccines on the way, and a steady, experienced administration coming into the White House, I feel boundless optimism for the future of our amazing industry and city.
Source: Miami Herald