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NYC Snowbirds Moving South, Scooping Up Miami High-End Rentals

By Alexander Britell

Apogee South Beach

number of recent reports have noted the vibrancy of the tri-county area's rental market -- but it's not just young professionals in one-bedrooms that are signing residential leases in droves. 

Miami's high-end rentals are also booming, led by Miami Beach, which has seen its inventory practically vanish, led by New Yorkers looking to establish residency in South Florida. 

"There's just no new inventory," said realtor Kevin Tomlinson of One Sotheby's International Realty. "I've seen some people buy because they can't find anything to rent."

The rental vacancy rate in Miami Beach is "zero," he said. "There's not much at all -- house or condo."

The high-end rental market in Miami and Miami Beach, which begins at around $10,000 per month, spiked when the spring season began, he said, and has jumped in large part due to New Yorkers heading down to establish residency in South Florida. 

"It seems right now people are establishing residency out of New York City and into South Florida, whether they're buying or renting. We're back to 2003 or 2004, where we have pocket listings, and things don't need to go on the MLS to be rented.

He pointed to one property on North Bay Road, renting for $100,000 per month, that was rented before it even hit the market. 

The high-end market follows the trend from downtown Miami and Brickell, which had a rental occupancy as high as 85 percent in Feburary, according to the most recent report from the Downtown Development Authority. That was a 31 percent increase from 2009. 

"The rental market is very strong," said Daniel de la Vega, a broker for One Sotheby's in Coral Gables. "It's hard to get financing, and unless you're a cash buyer, or an international buyer coming from wherever you may be; a lot of people are renting." 

"It's huge," Gonzalez said, "so much so that I can barely get into some of my listings because of them being rented. It's literally people moving out, and the next day other people moving in."

Gonzalez said he had a home at 4411 Pine Tree Drive which saw a tenant move out that had been paying an effective rent of $45,000 per month, and a new resident move in for $30,000 per month. 

Even the former home of singer Cher, which had been listed for $10.2 million on the sales market, was rented about a month and a half ago for $45,000 per month, he said. 

De la Vega said that Miami Beach was the strongest market in the area, led by its South of Fifth neighborhood, where units in buildings like Apogee and Continuum have no rentals available. 

Coral Gables' high-end waterfront areas are also seeing strong rental activity, according to Consuelo Stewart, realtor with Shelton and Stewart in South Miami.

"You have a lot of people renting, especially from Venezuela and Mexico, who do not really want to buy yet," she said. 

Stewart said she had just handled a rental transaction for a waterfront property in Coral Gables for a $20,000-per-month, two-year lease. 

"I would say there's definitely more activity, at least in Cocoplum," she said. "Cocoplum is the tony waterfront enclave in Coral Gables." 


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