Brett Smith, a 25-year-old Brickell resident, stands on the balcony of his condo. His rent just went up 15 percent.
By Martha Brannigan mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com
Rents are rising in Miami, especially in the sizzling Brickell/downtown areas where vacant units are snapped up quickly amid strong demand for the urban lifestyle and amenities.When Brett Smith rented a condo at Axis Brickell last year, there were still sweet deals to be found, but when the lease came up for renewal last month, he got a sour note: The rent was spiking 15 percent.
The three-bedroom, three-bath condo would cost $3,800 a month, up from $3,300.
“We actually looked around at other places, and most looked to be around the same price range,” said Smith, a 25-year-old construction project manager who shares the apartment with two friends. “We decided with the cost of moving, we would just stay.”
Smith, who loves the urban lifestyle — “It’s great, and it’s getting better,” he says — has lots of company.
In greater downtown Miami and Brickell, residential rental rates per square foot jumped 10 percent in the first nine months of 2012 from a year earlier, according to a study conducted for Miami Downtown Development Authority by Coral Gables-based Focus Real Estate Advisors.
Rents for the sizzling Brickell neighborhood leaped even more sharply. The average monthly rental rate for Brickell jumped 17 percent to $2,242 in the first nine months of 2012 from the same period in 2010, while the rent per square foot spiked 28 percent over that period, according to additional data from Focus Real Estate Advisors and MLxchange.
Fueling the price increases: Strong demand for rental units and the growing popularity of the downtown and Brickell areas as new restaurants and entertainment spots help mold an urban core that is attractive to young professionals and students but also to an increasingly diverse crowd.
“It’s become like a restaurant Mecca in Brickell,” said Denise Sicuso, sales manager for Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realty’s Brickell downtown office, which handles lots of condo rentals and sales in the area.