Expect a great 2015

I guess this is where someone with 30 years of business journalism and an economic minor should be ready to pick apart what’s ahead with the economy.

Sorry, doubters.

Like most of the prognosticators in our outlook section, I see an incredible number of positives as the new year begins.

These days it all seems to start with the building boom along the coast.

That was a huge topic at the Urban Land Institute Symposium, “Why is Miami Burning so Hot?”

A major reason for our success is there’s just so much foreign cash flowing into the market and South Florida is seen as an increasingly desirable place to live.

The financial underpinnings of this condo boom are much stronger than the last one, because buyers have so much more skin in the game.

I checked the latest figures from CraneSpotters.com and found that 67 percent of units have already been presold throughout the region, which is a pretty healthy number. The biggest risks to the South Florida economy these days are probably external, such as some unforseen Black Swan type calamity. We also could become a victim of our own success as land prices rise, which drives up the price of units. Still, South Florida is realtively cheap compared to many other global hot spots.

The current pipeline has a lot going on: 9,487 units under construction, 13,104 approved and 15,829 not approved, according to CraneSpotters.com.

Related Chairman and CEO Jorge Pérez got the biggest laugh at the ULI seminar when he said, “For all of you that are buyers, I think we have at least 10 more years of prosperity. For you that are developers that are coming here, the decline is coming very rapidly.”

What’s interesting is that the Perezes of the world are trekking well beyond Miami. Hallandale/Hollywood is one of the region’s hottest markets, along with Fort Lauderdale. I’m hearing a lot about interest in Palm Beach County as well.

 One attraction is South Florida has truly arrived on the global scene with events such as Art Basel and eMerge Americas. (Check out our cover package on eMerge to see what’s ahead.)

Our downtown areas are turning increasingly into 24/7 live/work/play centers. It wasn’t too long ago that you could walk down the sidewalks at night and hardly see anyone – at least anyone you would want to run into.

The region is increasingly seen as a great place to do business, as evidenced by my article about Thalius Hecksher and his efforts with the Florida Hedge Fund Association.

We still have our challenges. I’d put improving our education and transportation systems as among the most important tasks ahead.

A Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce seminar on Transit Oriented Development, covered in this issue, offers a great opportunity to not only address our transit needs, but do so in a way that creates great neighborhoods.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Please email me at kgale@sfbwmag.com or call me at 954.377.9566.?

       Kevin Gale

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