Northeast storms drive homebuyers to Miami
Written by Susan Danseyar on February 18, 2015
Residential brokers have long known the Northeastern winters draw people to South Florida but say this year, with a brutal winter, they’ve seen an unprecedented number of migrating homebuyers.
Maji Pace Ramos, broker for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, said the staff in her Coral Gables office conducted an informal poll and determined there’s been at least a 20% swell this season in inquires for properties of all types and prices from residents of New York, New Jersey and other parts of the Northeast.
“I’ve seen a dramatic increase in interest and received four calls in a week including from prospective buyers in Boston, New York and Long Island,” Ms. Ramos said. “Weather is one of the first issues that comes up.”
In fact, she had a conversation last week with one of her buyers. “She closed in January and moved down from New York,” Ms. Ramos said. “She said that she was ‘done with the winters with the back-to-back snowstorms and single digit weather while in South Florida it’s 70 degrees and sunny.’”
Ms. Ramos, who has been a residential broker for 22 years in Miami, said this is definitely a trend and that every agent she knows is talking about this recent increase in buyers coming from the northern part of the country.
“I’ve had more inquiries from the Northeast this winter than ever before,” she said. “It’s now almost equal to my international business.”
People are coming with a variety of plans, Ms. Ramos said. “We are seeing an increase in interest from the Northeast ranging from people wanting to escape the cold ‘tundra’ looking to retire to entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of all of the business opportunities and international connections unique to Miami,” she said. “Obviously, we are all aware of how brutal this winter has been, and that’s a major reason there is much interest in Miami.”
Ms. Ramos believes the weather factor will continue to drive Northeasterners here. She said the aging baby boomer population will also come into play as “it is more difficult to deal with cold weather as you age.”
Duff Rubin, regional senior vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, moved here from Canada 15 years ago and said he’s well aware of the drudgery of snow for months on end.
He sometimes hears from Northeasterners that they’ll be trading one weather problem for another if they move to Florida, where residents have to worry each year about hurricanes.
“We’re very fortunate not to have had any hurricanes hitting shore here since 2006,” Mr. Rubin said. “This winter seems to have reinforced the idea of climate change for Northeasterners. They are realizing winter patterns are not going away and will be staying with us.”
He has definitely seen more Northeasterners renting and buying homes over the years. “Last year, there was more interest than the year before and this year there’s been more renting and sales in the first few months.”
Mr. Rubin said it can take a year before the numbers show how much the brutal winters are creating a migrational trend. During storms, he said, people may not be able to get flights or want to leave their homes empty when there’s the possibility of weather-related damage.
“We’ll likely see more sales in March, when people can get here from the Northeast more easily, and see the numbers spike in June or July.”
Both Mr. Rubin and Ms. Ramos said weather may be the first consideration for people moving here, but they are also attracted to an evolving business environment and artistic hub.
“Anyone coming here from New York or Boston won’t have to give up visits to museums because we have them here,” Mr. Rubin said. “It’s an exciting, culturally vibrant city without the hassles of ice and snow.”