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Priced out of Paradise: City in Transition
Miami-Dade is the most expensive metro in the U.S. for renters and one of the costliest for home buyers. This series explains why that’s so and what it means for the region and its residents. Our interactive tool helps renters and buyers match their budgets to affordable neighborhoods. Future stories will explore solutions to South Florida’s housing crisis.
Miami has long attracted North Americans escaping the cruelty of winter. But in the past decade, it has also become a playground for art aficionados, foodies and boaters from around the globe — in part because of its relative value.
While the going rate of $875 per square foot in Miami Beach may seem astronomical to a local resident earning the annual household median income of $50,000, it’s a bargain when compared with Monte Carlo’s $4,634 square-foot price. For those considering a pied-a-terre far from the winter gloom of London, where central city real estate is selling for $2,515 per square foot, Miami is a deal even without factoring in the weather.
That analysis comes from EWM Realty. Said its president, Ron Shuffield: “Potential buyers from other global cities who are currently considering the purchase of a primary or secondary residence in Miami see us as a great value in comparison with residential prices within their home cities. While the diversity of our hometown was a challenge 40 years ago, the wonderful international blend of our community today has become one of our greatest strengths.”
In its 2019 wealth report, the firm found that $1 million would get you 1,001 square feet of prime property in Miami. The report defines it as “the most desirable and most expensive property in a given location” — or the top 5 percent of the sales market.
Even for renters, Miami stacks up well.
The median Magic City household pays 37 percent of its income toward rent in international comparisons, according to U.S. Census data. Parisians pay 46 percent, Londoners pay 40 percent, and Singaporeans pay 44 percent, according to data compiled by Rent Cafe, a real estate website.
And if you exclude housing, Miami rates even more favorably. In its 2018 international cost comparison of cities, UBS ranked Miami third best on purchasing power, behind Los Angeles and Zurich, Switzerland.
UBS ranked Miami 23rd best on a comparison of local prices compared to benchmark New York. UBS found that the cost of living in Miami is 25 percent less than the cost of living in Manhattan — better than Tokyo, Tel Aviv, and just a bit ahead of Toronto, which ranked 31st.
When it comes to the world’s most expensive cities, Miami falls at 71, according to the 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Report by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Tied for first place were Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong; followed by Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland; Osaka, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Copenhagen, Denmark; New York, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles.
Most expensive cities, 2019
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit
What $1 million will buy
▪ Monaco: 172 square feet
▪ Hong Kong: 237 square feet
▪ New York: 334 square feet
▪ London: 334 square feet
▪ Singapore: 388 square feet
▪ Los Angeles: 420 square feet
▪ Geneva: 441 square feet
▪ Paris: 495 square feet
▪ Sydney: 560 square feet
▪ Shanghai: 614 square feet
▪ Beijing: 721 square feet
▪ Tokyo: 721 square feet
▪ Berlin: 786 square feet
▪ Miami: 1,001 square feet
▪ Melbourne: 1,044 square feet
▪ Mumbai: 1,076 square feet
▪ Istanbul: 1,173 square feet
▪ Dubai: 1,539 square feet
▪ Cape Town: 1,905 square feet
▪ São Paolo: 2,153 square feet
Knight Frank 2019 report