Miami-Dade’s apartment rental market still among most competitive in U.S. Here’s why

·4 min read
Adrian Diaz-Sieckel/Miami Herald file

People shouldn’t expect apartment rental prices to drop anytime soon in Miami-Dade County, because a new survey shows the county remains one of the most competitive areas in the United States to land an apartment.

The desire to live in the Miami metropolitan area made it the second-hottest residential-rental market in the country to start 2023, after North Jersey, N.J., and a notch ahead of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to RentCafe’s quarterly market insights report of the toughest larger cities in America to lease apartments. Miami slipped from the No. 1 spot as most competitive rental market in the online rental listing firm’s 2022 annual report.

Demand remains fierce for apartments, with 20 prospective renters on average vying for each available home rental in Miami. That’s 150% more than the national average of eight prospects competing for each rental listing. According to RentCafe, the average monthly rent for an apartment in Miami is $2,356 and the average size is 888 square feet.

Inventory remains tight, despite the addition of over 12,000 apartments last year in South Florida, including in Miami with the opening of Northside Transit Village II Apartments near Little River and completion of apartments near Douglas Road Metrorail station near Coral Gables and in Coconut Grove. Over two-thirds of tenants, or 71% of them, renewed their leases and stayed in place. That meant 97% of the rentals on the market were occupied.

“What you’re seeing in some other parts of the country is a softening in the rental demand,” said Mariya Letdin, a business professor at Florida State University. “Vacancies are up a little bit. There’s a little bit of slack around the country. Miami is not experiencing any of that.”

Yardi Matrix, parent company of RentCafe, surveyed 130 larger metro areas nationwide for its latest report. It compared rent and listing data on apartments in buildings with at least 50 residences from October through December 2022 compared to the fourth quarter 2021.

The Miami area continues to draw newcomers from across the country, especially the Northeast and Midwest. The migration trend here has accelerated during the pandemic due to the business-friendly climate, the growing technology and financial sectors, remote work opportunities, on top of the usual no state or local income taxes. Corporations continue to expand into the region, inviting more employees to relocate to the county. And Miami-Dade’s costly home prices force many aspiring homeowners to rent instead.

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Other parts of Florida also landed in the top 10 most competitive apartment rental markets in the nation in RentCafe’s report. Southwest Florida (Sarasota, Fort Myers, Bradenton, Naples, Port Charlotte, Venice and Cape Coral) ranked sixth, nearby Broward County eighth, and Seminole County — including Orlando — followed in the ninth spot.

The Sunshine State as a whole continues to draw new residents, boosting Florida’s population. For those on a less expensive budget, other cities and suburbs outside Miami are cheaper options.

Doug Ressler, Yardi Matrix’s manager of business intelligence, expects the Miami metro area to remain in the top five most desirable rental markets in the country for another six months to a year given its broad appeal.

Area landlords are now more willing to negotiate with tenants on leases and renewal terms, said Adrian Diaz-Sieckel, managing broker at EMH3 Real Estate & Management, which focuses on condominium rentals and sales in Miami’s urban core. He’s seen landlords willing to slightly decrease rental prices, while a year ago they only took offers at or above apartment rental list prices.

Although the Silicon Valley Bank collapse earlier this month rattled Miami’s startup tech scene and consumer inflation remains high, real estate experts predict residential rents mostly will increase through 2023 in the metro area.

“As long as we don’t have massive layoffs, we’ll continue to see growth in rents,” Letdin said. “In real estate, we talk about gateway markets. Miami is on its way to becoming another gateway national market to attract jobs and international, institutional investment.”