Miami Economics - 5/20/14 | WYPR

Miami Economics - 5/20/14

May 19, 2014

If you think about Miami, Florida, you may have visions of beautiful beaches, buildings and people.  The 2014 Wealth Report produced by London-based consulting firm Knight Frank LLP indicates that Miami ranks 7th among cities that matter to high net worth investors, ahead of Dubai, Paris and Beijing. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, international buyers have purchased more than $10 billion of South Florida property since 2008.  As reported in Bloomberg, more than 15,000 new condominiums are planned in Miami, the most since the housing boom of the previous decade ended.  But Miami is about much more than glitz and glory.  Pull back the covers a bit, and the city is brimming with people who are barely making it.

The city’s unemployment rate averaged 4.1 percent in 2006.  4 years later, joblessness had tripled to 13.4 percent and unemployment there remains above the U.S. average.  It’s hard to make ends meet there even with a job.  A 2011 Harvard University study determined that Miami was the least affordable city for renters, with more than 40 percent of low and middle income renters spending at least half of their income on housing, the most in the U.S.  Income inequality in Miami is roughly equivalent to that of Mexico City.