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Miami's Latest Real Estate "Boom" is All About Rich Foreigners Who Like to Shop

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This week The New York Times ran one of its periodic check-ins on the Miami real estate market. Nothing particularly new in there for people who already follow the ups and downs of the property market, but it is another reminder that Miami's latest "boom" is being driven by rich out-of-towners who like to shop.

There's this:

Developers are reacting to the unexpectedly swift condo recovery in a predictable way: they are building more condos.

And this:

The recent condo boom was driven primarily by cash-paying Latin American investors who either use the apartments occasionally or rent them out, often to young professionals working nearby, said Mr. Zalewski of Condo Vultures.

And this:

Swire [Properties] also sees a strong need for high-end shopping in the rapidly growing downtown neighborhood. The company's partner in the 500,000-square-foot retail component at Brickell CityCentre is the Whitman family, the owners of Bal Harbour Shops, a hugely successful open-air shopping center just north of Miami Beach.

But then there's also this:

While the residential market is looking healthier, demand for office space is still weak.

Which isn't much of a surprise considering Miami-Dade's unemployment rate currently sits at 9.9 percent, the highest rate since November 2011, and much higher than the state rate of 7.5 percent.

So, who knows what happens when those investors run through the supply of "young professionals" working in downtown, because the white collar job boom, or lack thereof, hasn't been keeping up with this new blue-ribbon condo boom. Eventually, if Miami wants to keep growing, it's going to have to start getting serious about growing its own middle class and young professional base.

But hey, maybe as a local you can still look forward to a promising career as a store clerk in one of the many stores at that new 500,000-square-foot mall!

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