The buzzword ‘gentrification’ has found a new home in Miami, Florida, specifically within the city’s condominium associations. As the owner of PR Management Solutions, a company specializing in community association management since 2006, I, Jose Pazos, offer a unique, on-the-ground perspective on this transformative process.
Miami, renowned for its blend of vibrant cultures and architectural charm, has been undergoing a substantial transformation, driven by an innovative urban zoning plan, Miami 21. It’s an initiative aimed at creating a more walkable and sustainable city. However, this plan has sparked a gentrification wave that’s made Miami increasingly appealing to high-end investment, thereby fueling its reputation as an international city.
Yet, amid the city’s evolution, it was the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside in June 2021 that dramatically altered the condominium landscape. The aftermath of this disaster has seen stricter enforcement of state regulations on building maintenance and elevator upgrades, with insurance carriers mandating immediate repairs for capital projects.
The ramifications of these changes are significant. Banks have heightened their scrutiny on condominium loans, adding as many as 30 to 40 additional questions to their application questionnaires. This greater attention to detail is causing more loan applications to be denied, triggering a significant slowdown in condominium sales.
At PR Management Solutions, we’ve observed this trend firsthand through our issuance of estoppel certificates required for real estate closing processes. Since April 2022, the rate of condominium closings has halved, a reduction that correlates with the stricter loan approval process and increased condo fees resulting from mandatory repair costs and compliance with state regulations.
This trend isn’t expected to reverse any time soon. In fact, projections indicate these dynamics will continue over the next five years at least.
As an industry veteran, my team and I are committed to assisting our association members navigate these increasingly complex circumstances. Our goal is to foster dialogue between all stakeholders – residents, investors, insurers, and local policymakers.
As Miami’s condominium associations undergo this gentrification, it’s crucial for us to strike a balance between these necessary regulations and the vibrant diversity that makes our city truly unique. This ongoing transformation is an important story that warrants the attention of news agencies. As a first-hand observer and active participant, I’m eager to provide insights and updates about this evolving situation.