Miami Beach Sinking?

8 Replies

Hi. We are looking at buying a condo in Hollywood Beach area. I've done some research and it sounds like the low elevation areas are possibly going to sink over the next few decades. Also, it seems like foreign buyers looking for a tax shelter make up a big percentage of buyers. Can anyone offer insight into the market? We're from the Midwest and unfamiliar. 

Hi Madeline, I’m not a scientist... so I’m not sure about sinking land and rising sea levels. I do live in a nice condo on Collins Ave in Miami Beach, and I can tell you things seem to be heating up quickly around here. It’s certainly still a buyers market with condos, but my fellow eXp agents are doing very well with rentals and condo sales. There are brand new buildings going up and the voters even voted a project in on South Beach. In other words, for all practical money purposes, business is in full swing here. If you’re talking about retiring here, then yeah I’d listen to the scientists. And yes there are so many foreign cash buyers in MB, however not sure about Hollywood beach. Hope this local perspective helped!

Interesting question, and one, that might not receive enough attention within our industry. Thank goodness, it has been the focus of local governments, with Miami Beach actually leading the way. 

To put things in perspective, almost the entire Eastern seaboard (including Manhattan) is in a flood zone and could possibly sink. The difference between most of the Eastern seaboard & Miami Dade county is our building code which takes possible flooding (and high winds) into account - this is by the way one reason why it's pricy to purchase here - our cost of construction is higher (partially because of higher standards) than most of the U.S. 

One example you might have heard of are Miami-Dade county approved impact windows are actually the golden standard for the product.

Contact me for additional info - don't want to bore you (or anyone else for that matter & hope that the response helps).

Hi @Madeline J.

Your first question is more geological and relating to climate change so let me tackle that first.

The soil and rock underneath the Miami area is mostly Coral Rock, which is porous and is beneficial for quick drainage during hurricane season. The ground will never sink, however, if sea levels continue to rise over time there could be an effect in the Miami area over 60 plus years. Luckily, as Maggie mentioned, the local governments especially Miami Beach have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past couple years bolstering infrastructure for any future issues. Major roadways have been redone drainage has been redone and I and many others can attest to seeing very positive effects. Overall, the governments are managing things greatly and there's not a need for concern.

Secondly, your question regarding the diversity of ownership for foreign versus domestic. Statistics have shown that in the past several years the shift has moved dramatically from foreign investor-based buyers to local and domestic based buyers as currency markets have shifted and the pandemic has also slowed down foreign buyer activity especially from areas such as Europe that have more restrictions of American travel. Right now the mix is definitely a higher percentage of domestic and American buyers and we'd be happy to get you all statistics you want.

Just reach out for any more information, I'm happy to help.

Hi Madeline, I live in the area and while the sinking may be an issue for the future, there are a few areas that get extra flooding from King tides every year, causing driving issues mostly. Google king tides in Hollywood, FL for those streets/areas. 

We also tend to have a lot of foreigners who own condos along the beach. Hollywood is especially popular with Canadians who come to spend winters here. I'm not a realtor, so I'm not sure if they own or just get STRs - probably both. 

Hi Madeline, I live in the area and while the sinking may be an issue for the future, there are a few areas that get extra flooding from King tides every year, causing driving issues mostly. Google king tides in Hollywood, FL for those streets/areas. 

We also tend to have a lot of foreigners who own condos along the beach. Hollywood is especially popular with Canadians who come to spend winters here. I'm not a realtor, so I'm not sure if they own or just get STRs - probably both. 

@Madeline J.

Check fema flood maps and look for properties in flood zone x. Careful cause these maps have changed in the past. Ps Hollywood is built on a swamp in some areas. I would google florida sink holes to get an idea.

One nice thing is that surf road prevents big developments allowing the beach to have sun all day.

How's Portland?