You likely visited our region once or twice and now considering to make it your future home or buy a vacation condo. Living in Miami pros and cons are varied and some depend on your needs and personal preferences.
Our region is fast shedding its past negative image of drugs and corruption of the 80s and 90s and it is fast surfacing as an important international, financial, and cultural center. It’s an intricate melting pot with a vibrant diversity unlike any other city in the US.
Here, we, as locals, share our honest opinions on six important topics that you should probably consider before making a move. Although we can’t speak for everyone, you will likely find them helpful.
Pro: Great weather and awesome beaches. They are the two main reasons most people relocate to Miami, not just the retirees, but anyone tired of the slightest cold in the rest the US and other countries.
In addition to the top amenities of an international city, living in a tropical place with plenty of rain and lush green environment is pretty remarkable.
Con: You may overheat. Some may find our summers hot and humid, but honestly, it depends on where you choose to live. Miami Beach and coastal neighborhoods have mild summers because of the breeze that blows from the ocean. However, it can get oppressively humid inland during the summer.
Pro: Cost of living in Miami is affordable. Some may find it expensive, but it’s relative to where you compare it to and on your earning. Frankly, as the main cost is housing, it entirely depends on your style. Living in a swanky building with oceanfront views is expensive like anywhere else.
Good coastal neighborhoods and Miami Beach can be expensive too, but they’re definitely cheaper than places like San Francisco or New York. Other good sleepy coastal areas and great inland neighborhoods are relatively affordable.
Food, gas and utilities are fairly comparable to other US cities.
Con: Extra fees here and there may add up. Miami is a city obsessed with the valet service and toll roads. So, if you’re the type who goes out a lot, expect these small fees to eat up your budget.
Also, with no State tax, our local governments make-up the gap via other means, such as toll fees.
3. Business & Jobs Opportunities
Pro: Terrific real estate, tourism, and financial markets. Miami’s real estate market is one of the most undervalued among large US cities. It surprises us that mainly foreign investors take advantage. You can also find many profitable and affordable small business opportunities.
Miami Beach is today a world renowned vacation spot where many buy vacation homes and South Beach continues to attract transplants who opt to settle in its charming Art Deco district.
In addition to being the nation’s cruise capital, Miami is also an important financial center with a high concentration of international banks focused on bridging the US and Latin America.
Con: You may get outbid with all-cash deals. It’s estimated that over 60% of real estate transactions in Miami are all-cash deals. If you’re planning to buy a vacation home, expect to have some serious competition from the super savers and foreign investors.
Since our economy is service-based such as tourism, finance and trade services, most jobs are in these industries and do not pay high salaries. But if you live within your means, you can certainly live well, far better than other places in the US with a similar salary.
4. Lifestyle & Behavior
Pro: Our lifestyle is stress-free. We have a reputation for being a laid back city and it’s true! With the influence of Latin and Caribbean cultures, the majority of the population is family oriented. We believe it’s important to have a good balance between life and work.
In addition, vacationers and retirees complement us and you’ll notice that hardly anyone looks stressed out. It’s also definitely true that living in a place with plenty of sunshine has a positive effect on people’s mood.
Miamians love taking great care of their body and image, you’ll notice that many look like movie stars! We’re certainly one of the very few US cities where people dress up for no occasion. Fashion, design and art rank high on our list.
Con: We are weak on work ethic and professionalism. Being late for an appointment is the norm and we often call our time “The Miami Time”. Hardly anything gets completed on time and you’ll often hear people complain about the reliability and the professionalism of workers.
While it’s important for us to take care of our image, we seem to be low on the brain side. For instance, intellectually stimulating events and social activism are not top priorities for most.
You may get irritated by our relaxed attitude and the display of wealth of many, with so many high-end cars running around. Watch out, our drivers are some of the least traffic laws obeyers!
5. International Scene
Pro: A vibrant international scene awaits you. You may hear people say that you can’t get around in Miami without speaking Spanish and we disagree. English is the main language, but as Miami is a major hub and has strong ties with Latin America, there’s undeniably a sizable hispanic population.
Services are offered in English except in the places heavily frequented by hispanics. There’s also a large population from the Caribbean islands, Brazil, Europe, Russia, Canada and Asia. So if you’re interested in polishing your Spanish and mingling with a diverse group, Miami won’t let you down!
Con: The cacophony of foreign languages may bother you. A natural phenomenon of a melting pot place is that you’re constantly surrounded by foreign languages. Whether you are at a doctor’s waiting room or in a line for something, conversations and cell phone chats in foreign languages may annoy you.
6. Enviroment & Landscape
Pro: Miami area enjoys all the benefits of a tropical region. In addition to warm weather, we enjoy plenty of rain, keeping our parks and surrounding lush green year-round. You can savor amazing tropical fruits and indulge on fresh seafood everyday too.
Despite the heavy development Miami has seen in recent years, tropical vegetation and wildlife is visible in most neighborhoods. You can spot many wild species in our trees and parks such as parrots, iguanas, and peacocks. We’re surrounded by plenty of parks and a short drive from Florida’s best, the Everglades National Park.
Our unique geographic location allows us to make a short hop to many desirable Caribbean islands, for even a brief weekend getaway.
Con: Our terrain may disappoint you. Like most of Florida, Miami area is flat with no hills or mountains in sight.
Many challenges come with the population growth, mainly construction and traffic congestion. Luckily, our region is a narrow strip of about 20 miles wide where development is limited by the Everglades on one end and the Atlantic ocean on the other.
Miami region has its fair share of desirable elements, we are very hopeful we will overcome our downsides as we continue to improve our region. There are pros and cons to living in every place including Miami.
Finally, here’s a great short film that was recently released by the British news outlet The Economist, Passport series. Listen to what three typical locals, a Cuban singer, a beach-runner and a drag queen have to say about our beautiful city, Miami!
Full short film