Price hike: Demand for housing impacts South Miami-Dade

Due in part to out-of-state buyers, people in the market to buy a home for the first time are facing challenges– even in the typically more affordable South Miami-Dade area.

Gene Maestro, a real estate broker who has been in the industry for over 48 years, said demand has both driven up prices and reduced supply. 

He said residents from New York and California are buying properties all over South Florida for several reasons: low-interest rates, a cheaper lifestyle and– based on the sales of their previous homes– having more money to spend.

Maestro said that many have been able to pay cash for the homes, giving them an advantage over locals.

“They were falling in a secondary position, unfortunately,” said Maestro.

Andrea Vergara, 21, Peruvian-born and Miami-raised, said buying her first home in Kendall was stressful.

“Prior to putting an offer, I was just watching houses go on the market and being take off hours later,” she said. “I think I got extremely lucky in a period where the market so competitive.”

Vergara also said she studied the market for a couple of months before purchasing her home. 

Carolina Santiestaban, a 23-year-old Cuban behavioral therapist, said she felt pressured to buy a house with her fiancé last September after an unexpected pregnancy. 

“We placed an offer quickly without having much time to really think about whether or not it was the best choice, because houses like the ones we found were hard to come across and it had about 10 offers in just two days, so we had to think fast,” she said.

Santiesteban said the houses they viewed were unaffordable, so the couple bought an older house in Cutler Bay and remodeled it. 

According to the realtors, it is difficult to predict how the market will change this year. 

Kate Howell, a Miami real estate agent, said the future of the market depends on several factors, such as the full opening of different states like California and New York. 

“Too many people are chasing the same small piece of paradise,” Howell said.

According to Howell, there are more people traveling to South Miami-Dade than there are leaving. He clarified that in particular, Hispanics are staying close to their relatives by buying homes in the same area, while other ethnicities may leave for a different state.

There is not enough land for more houses because of South Miami-Dade’s coastal environment and agricultural usage of the Everglades, according to Howell.

He said that this problem is not going to be solved any time soon, but a softening in the market is likely in areas like Homestead or Kendall.

Luciana Naretti is a junior majoring in digital journalism at Florida International University. After graduation, she plans to work at a news station assembling engaging stories for Miami locals."