When Irma was on it’s way to making landfall in South Florida, many media outlets and realtors alike expected the worst. At the time the category 5 storm was projected to hit Miami dead on and even reached winds of 190 mph at one point, so the city and all its industries were bracing for complete devastation. Eventually, Irma dropped in strength and veered away from Miami by the time it made landfall, so the impact wasn’t quite as severe as once projected. Miami’s downtown area and Brickell were broadcast nationwide, showing shocking images of the streets mostly underwater due to storm surge. But just hours after the storm hit, a large portion of the storm surge had receded. Power was out for thousands, but many of the well-built condos and and structures either never lost power or only lost it momentarily. The expectations were total loss on every front for all industries, especially the real estate industry.
A little over a month after the hurricane, industry players are starting to see that what didn’t completely destroy the city’s real estate actually served to make it stronger. Miami’s bouncing back quickly and there are several reasons why the storm didn’t scare away buyers the way it was expected to.
Strong Infrastructures mean Strong Investments
If Irma did anything positive (which wasn’t much, but there’s always a bright side) it was to show how well Miami’s building codes passed the test. Since Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc and decimated Miami in 1992, Miami-Dade’s building codes have since become some of the strictest in the nation. While there was some building damage throughout the city, structural engineers and other authorities that did initial damage surveys credited the tough building codes designed to take on serious hurricanes helped spare the city from much worse. Much of the aftermath was downed power lines, felled trees and power outages. Strong infrastructures that stood the test of a serious storm means the value of a South Florida home is high and worth the investment.
Swift Action from the Governor means Efficient Leadership
Governor Rick Scott, who’s been in office since 2011, has seen his fair share of storms and hurricanes – and his experience showed with the way he handled the hurricane protocols for the state of Florida. He took extra measures, ordering a statewide evacuation well ahead of landfall, giving residents plenty of time to prepare their homes, pack up and hit the road. He activated thousands of Florida National Guard Members to aid in preparations and planning as the storm approached; he issued several warnings and addressed the state with a press conference urging everyone to evacuate as soon as possible. As the mass exodus began, he suspended tolls across the state’s highways and roads to ensure everyone got out in a safe and timely manner. Florida’s leadership and excellent handling of the storm was another plus for any foreigners considering buying a home or commercial property in Miami and searching for a foreign national mortgage.
How Quickly Miami Got Back to Business
While news stations televised the storm surge flowing through the streets in downtown and Brickell. What wasn’t necessarily shown was how quickly that water receded, just hours after the storm passed. Power was out for thousands following the storm, as expected, but power was back to the vast majority of the city within weeks compared to the months it took to get the power back after hurricanes Andrew and Wilma.
As far as the real estate industry, September 2017 sales did slow, as was expected with all the business closures including all those involved in closing property sales. However, during this time, the median price for a single-family home went up 7.6 percent from the previous year’s prices and have been going up steadily for 70 consecutive months, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. There were several outstanding sales right after Irma including a $9 million dollar sale on a property in the Venetian islands, two more for $7.55 million and $7.5 million in Coconut Grove and lastly, another in Coral Gables for $5 million. Many luxury property realtors have gone on record saying they haven’t seen much reluctance from buyers to invest in coastal properties despite Irma’s landfall. Sellers have adjusted asking prices in the wake of the storm to help stimulate sales and it seems these adjustments have helped.
The consensus seems to be that even after Irma, international buyers eyeing Miami as a place to invest in properties have not been deterred and are still searching for foreign national loans to finance their purchases. Storms are a fact of life in Miami, but as a city that only continues to develop and grow, it has served to make it that much stronger and efficient. The New Miami and it’s value is only going to continue to grow.