Invest: Miami speaks with Brad Meltzer, Southeast President

Compared to major global cities, Miami is an infant. When folks look back on this market, they will say that this is the moment when Miami matured from a vacation destination to a city with strong cultural offerings and business opportunities. Many people in our industry are coming to Miami because of the growth opportunities, not just because their families are rooted here. The more highly trained and educated entrepreneurs that come here, the better “fertilized” this market will be.

A trend in the residential segment is a movement toward larger units. Luxury buyers want more space while out-of-town buyers are bringing their families here, not simply using units as investment property or vacation homes/rentals. Another key development is the 50-percent deposit requirement for pre-construction sales. This has strengthened the buyer pool and validates the market.

Though there is a labor constraint, it is not localized at the general labor level. The volume of development has dramatically increased and the industry is stressed, from general contractors to architects, engineers and developers. In addition, city inspectors are stressed, affecting our ability to get timely inspections needed to maintain schedules. To keep pace, we recruit qualified staff  from outside South Florida, while firms in the market are routinely poaching labor from one another.

For a long time, South Florida was stigmatized as an unsophisticated market for construction and design. As an increased level of savvy buyers entered the market, and projects started to command higher prices, the quality of developments and design improved. Today, world-class architects are designing sophisticated and innovative projects here. Additionally, South Florida is emerging as a leader in green buildings. LEED requirements spur builders to integrate eco-efficient, low-voltage systems, temperature and climate control and glazing materials, to name a few.