It is clear that as the sense of attachment and belonging increases for our many new-to-Miami stakeholders that they will find their way to getting engaged and invested in our rich ecosystem of high-impact social enterprises. There is no doubt this will help to drive forward resources to the areas and issues of greatest need.
Q: The Miami Herald has quantified what many living here already know: that Miami's cost of living is a stretch when compared with the median income. What is the answer to affordable and workforce housing?
Suarez: The current challenge is twofold. First, it's one of supply — we need to build more and to build smart to address the scale and scope of demand on our existing resources. It also requires using technology — as we have done — to drive down the transaction costs — the costs of living for working people. Secondly, it also means we need to bring companies with high paying jobs and encourage those companies to hire locally. Our cost of living is substantially less than other major cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston and others. However, a more meaningful comparison would be cost of living relative to wages earned. This is where a strong pivot to innovation economy can make a direct impact.
Q. The rich have long flocked to South Florida — at least in the winter. How is this migration different? Will it last, or will the latest arrivals leave after the first big storm?
Suarez: This is not a moment, this is a movement. And it's fundamentally different. First, the SALT tax has required businesses and individuals to permanently move to Miami and to Florida. Second, COVID-19 has altered how we work and where we choose to work. People can run their lives and run their businesses from anywhere so the choice is not "where do you work?" but "where do you WANT to work?." And Miami is a GREAT place to work and will get even better. And finally, our economic fundamentals are strong: Miami currently has the second lowest millage rate, one of the lowest crime rates, the highest bond rating and a growing economy that is rapidly diversifying into high-value industries of the future — fintech, healthtech and climate tech.
Will some people go back? Sure. But until we can have a lookback, we have to trust the data that's currently available. Driver's license applications from out-of-state new arrivals, particularly from California and New York, are up; home sales are up; school registration is up; and new-to-market companies are signing leases. These are signs of a commitment to Miami's common future, not just its growing economy.
Our Miami's pursuit of becoming what I call 'the capital of capital' is about not just financial capital but also our rich ecosystem of human, social and cultural capital. It is clear that the confluence of these forms of capital will play a critical role in our Miami being definitive of what a competitive 21st century city can look like where everyone is at the table of opportunity. The article was updated to correct the aggregate salaries over 10 years generated by the firms recruited by the Downtown Development Authority. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.