Here’s why a South Florida home could be right for you
Sunny South Florida is what truly defines the Sunshine State. This highly sought-after region attracts people from all over the country and the world due to the dynamic, upbeat, and thriving cities lining its coast. Whether it’s young professionals, big or small families, adventurous tourists, career-driven professionals, or even retirees, South Florida always has something in store for everyone.
South Florida has no official boundaries. However, a number of counties are generally considered part of this populous region like Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe. The first three counties alone account for over 29% of Florida’s total population, according to the Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR). Overall, this region has an estimated population of over 7 million people.
If you want to know what kind of life awaits you if you move to Miami, West Palm Beach, and other South Florida coastal cities, read on. You’ll soon find yourself wanting to explore homes for sale here!
South Florida is wildly popular among sun worshippers for its amazing ocean views and hundreds of miles of pristine beaches. This roughly 120-mile stretch of coastline in the iconic Florida Keys is where the Atlantic meets the Gulf of Mexico. Surrounded by water, you can expect tons of exciting water-related activities, including sportfishing, scuba diving, and leisurely boating.
The Miami metropolitan area is the place to be if you’re after lucrative job opportunities, top-tier restaurants, premium urban living, and a lively nightlife scene. Note, though, that we have only scratched the tip of the iceberg on this part of Florida as it’s much more than simply white sand, fancy restaurants, and glitzy nightclubs.
Towards the west, overlooking the Gulf Coast, lies the Everglades National Park. This massive protected area covers approximately 1.5 million acres of wetlands and forests. It’s considered the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. This huge park is home to several species like the rare Florida panther, snail kite bird, southern leopard frog, and other endangered species.
With its unique geographical position and a rich ecosystem, you can choose to be active and take part in the adventures you can experience here or you can find your sanctuary in the local surroundings and be one with nature.
A rich history
The earliest-known settlements said to be located around the watering holes and basins of Southern Florida were those of the Calusa and Tequesta Native Americans. Official accounts of these Paleo-Indian tribes’ existence were recorded in 1513 when Spanish settlers arrived on Floridian shores. Led by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, their expedition was said to be the first group of Europeans to encounter the Calusa Indians in Southwestern Florida. Other tribes discovered here include the Jaega and Mayaimi.
Spanish control of the territory lost momentum in 1763 when the area was ceded to the British Empire. The rare hide and fur trade in Florida played a role in the said transfer of power. Florida briefly returned to Spanish rule in 1781 but a newly independent United States was beginning to assert its dominance in the eastern portion of the continent.
A new destiny as part of US territory
By 1822, Florida officially became the 27th state. Vast tracts of land were developed to grow crops like sugar, cotton, and tobacco — all of which will greatly contribute to the state’s growing economy.
Decades after joining the US, major South Florida cities like Miami entered a new phase of development. A wave of new settlers and business people moved into communities like Coconut Grove and Biscayne. Prominent figures like Julia Tuttle — dubbed as the mother of Miami — invested their time and money to let the city grow into the dynamic metropolis that it is today.
In the early 1900s, the creation of a railroad in Fort Lauderdale and the city’s incorporation in 1911 were the key milestones that kicked off a series of development projects. From a military outpost, Fort Lauderdale became a major naval and air base during World War II. The end of the war spurred a population boom in the city as thousands of servicemen decided to settle down here.
Today, South Florida is a bustling and thriving region teeming with opportunities, scenic waterfront neighborhoods, and countless attractions and amenities.
Quick overview of South Florida’s real estate market
The numbers vary depending on the location. For Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, the median listing price for April 2021 ranges from $350,000 to $425,000. Meanwhile, the median sales price goes at around $345,000 to $410,000.
Data from Realtor.com shows that among the three mentioned counties, home values in Miami-Dade are the highest despite having a balance between buyers and sellers in the market. The same goes with Palm Beach, while Broward County is leaning more toward sellers.
Below are some homes in the area that you should consider checking out:
- The Villa Venetian is a seven-bedroom and eight-bathroom waterfront home located in the Venetian Islands. The home’s overall design combines Scandinavian architecture with essential smart home technologies. With stunning views of Biscayne Bay and its proximity to lively South Beach, this lovely home defines Miami life at its absolute finest.
- Condos like this full-floor penthouse in the upscale neighborhood of Coconut Grove take urban living to a new level. Some standout features: wood veneer ceilings, an illuminated limestone center island in the dining room, a private roof deck with an oversized pool, and highly coveted views of the Coconut Grove waterfront. This five-bedroom and eight-bedroom home has everything you could ask for in an urban oasis.
- In the market for new construction? This soon-to-rise waterfront home will showcase modern architecture, with an impressive array of amenities like a covered cabana, a spacious roof terrace with 360-degree views of Miami, and a luxurious home theater.
A lifestyle like no other in South Florida
Cost of living
In the Miami metro area, the city of Miami has a cost of living index of around 123. Fort Lauderdale, meanwhile, has a cost of living index of about 117. For both cities, transportation and housing create the most impact on their respective scores.
Consider the following factors that make South Florida a crowd drawer: it’s a seaside metropolis with an abundance of developments and amenities that can rival other mega-cities like New York and San Francisco. Settling here is still the better alternative.
Overall, Florida has a cost of living index of about 102. Additionally, residents here are not required to pay state income tax so they have more money in their pockets for necessities and the best that life can offer.
According to the Florida Legislature’s EDR Office, a number of counties in South Florida greatly contribute to Florida’s GDP. For example, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach comprise 15.74%, 10.37%, and 7.85% of the state’s GDP output respectively.
Given the rosy economic climate here, who wouldn’t want to come to South Florida for investment and career opportunities? Relying heavily on tourism, South Florida has a large food services and hospitality sector. Many amusement and national parks here also generate a good number of jobs.
There’s also a decent agriculture industry. The Everglades Agricultural Area alone produces 36 million pounds of radishes, 120 million stalks of celery, and enough lettuce to supply about a billion salads annually. Additionally, financial institutions like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase have a number of offices and branches in the area — owing to Florida’s generally business-friendly policies.
While North and Central Florida experience a humid subtropical climate, most of South Florida has a tropical climate. It’s the only region in the entire continental US to have such unique weather conditions.
Because the area is blessed with a tropical climate, South Florida only has two seasons: wet and dry. Miami and West Palm Beach get approximately 59 inches of rain on average. Meanwhile, cities like Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton get between 60 and 63 inches.
Like the rest of the state, South Florida averages over 230 sunny days annually. With good weather all year round, you can enjoy the sunny ocean views and miles of picturesque beaches to the fullest.
Must-visit attractions in South Florida
There’s so much to see and discover in South Florida. Find out which attractions suit your tastes and interests. Or maybe experience something new for a change.
- South Beach, Miami Beach. Get a tan, go for a swim, or spot a celebrity in the world-famous South Beach. But that’s not all there is to do in South Florida’s most prominent beach. There’s a plethora of activities here that are suitable for all kinds of visitors and tourists. Explore the best nightlife spots or sate your every food craving in award-winning restaurants in the area.
- Miami Dade College (MDC) Museum of Art and Design. Take a deep dive into Florida’s art and culture by paying a visit to MDC’s Museum of Art and Design. This is where you’ll find thousands of exhibitions and collections from up-and-coming and renowned artists alike. Don’t forget to check out the iconic Freedom Tower which houses special collections of the museum. This structure, a prominent fixture in Downtown Miami since the mid-1920s, is a tribute of sorts to the ties between Cubans and Americans.
- Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers. Florida has a number of homes and buildings that are testaments to its storied past. One of them is the 20-acre Edison and Ford Winter Estates. According to records, Thomas Edison was so enamored with Florida’s pleasant weather and beautiful environment that he bought over 13 acres of land in Fort Myers in 1885. When Henry Ford came to visit Edison in 1914, the former understood the rationale behind the latter’s purchase. Two years later, Ford bought the adjacent land (The Mangoes) for his own home.
- Everglades National Park. No adventure in South Florida would be complete without a trip to Everglades National Park. One day isn’t enough to explore the whole area — several day trips are recommended to enjoy all of this state park’s facilities and attractions. Go boating through the swamps and grasslands to see alligators and other exotic wildlife in their natural habitat. There are also several hiking and trail paths you can traverse. If it’s your first time to visit and you don’t know where to start, check out the guided tours and book your schedule.
- Dry Tortugas National Park. At the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys, you’ll find the area’s hidden gem — the Dry Tortugas National Park. Founded by Ponce de León in 1523 when he first set foot on the shores of Florida, this remote 100-square mile island is known as the best spot for snorkeling, diving, and sportfishing. The diversity of wildlife here is amazing — from sea creatures to coastal animals, including sea turtles, amberjack fish, Caribbean short-eared owls, and multi-colored corals.
Renowned author Ernest Hemingway was a famous resident of Key West (around 67 miles away) and was known to indulge in his passion for sportfishing around the Dry Tortugas and other nearby islands and atolls.
Restaurants to check out in South Florida
You will be spoilt for choice with a whole spectrum of food spots to choose from in South Florida, from classic restaurants and diners to eclectic nightspots and places for fine dining. Try out these recommendations:
- Rusty Pelican has built a solid reputation for itself in contemporary American cuisine, with special dishes like sunflower seed-crusted halibut and grilled herbed marinated octopus populating their menu. Spectacular views of the Miami skyline and South Channel greet you as you dig into your meal. There’s no shortage of waterfront dining options in the area, but eating in this Key Biscayne restaurant is a truly unique and filling experience.
- Head over to Milanezza for Argentinian or Italian cuisine. Located in the heart of Key Biscayne, this restaurant is your best bet for a casual night out. This restaurant also has a fresh market where you can pick up gourmet grocery items like Gorgonzola blue cheese, migńon French baguettes, or Mortadella cold cuts with pistachio.
- If you’re after the quintessential taste and flavors of Miami, Amara at Paraiso is a no-brainer. Chef and owner Michael Schwartz, a James Beard awardee, used his exemplary cooking skills to create a bold and dynamic menu that combines the best of South Florida’s diverse food culture. Every dish you choose — be it grilled shrimp and escarole salad or grilled red snapper — is not simply a meal but an experience to be savored.
- Lona Cocina Tequileria, or simply Lona, is the go-to restaurant in Fort Lauderdale for lovers of Mexican food. Enjoy modern takes on classic Mexican dishes like Baja fish tacos, chicken poblano, or pork carnitas. If you’re planning a small gathering with friends and family, this restaurant has a gorgeous event space for private waterfront dining.
South Florida education spells success
Let South Florida’s impressive academic institutions and top-ranking school districts be your children’s tickets to a brighter future! From the Miami-Dade County Public Schools to the Palm Beach County School District, kids will experience nothing but the best education available. Here are several schools to consider:
- A.D. Henderson University School. While not part of any public school district, this popular public elementary and middle school is lauded for its effective college-readiness programs. Located within the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, A.D. Henderson University School prides itself in its experiential learning and unconventional approaches that allow students to let their talents shine through.
- Coral Reef High School. As a top-rated magnet school in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Coral Reef High School has diverse programs that take into account students’ varying strengths and interests. They can excel in the sciences, arts, extracurricular activities, or athletics – or in all of them. The overall learning experience here transcends the four walls of the classroom.
- iPrep Academy. iPrep is another nationally certified magnet school that serves elementary, middle school, and high school students. Students and parents frequently praise the school’s focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses. While smaller compared to other schools in the area, parents appreciate the personalized teacher-student relationship and its positive effect on learning outcomes.
- University of Miami. With over 17,000 students from several countries, 11 colleges, and 180 majors and programs, the University of Miami is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Florida. It’s considered as among the top 50 universities on the national level by US News. The pandemic did not hinder learning here as the university applied an online learning approach that still delivers the same quality teaching to its students.
Find your dream home in South Florida
Now that we have you stoked over the endless possibilities should you desire to embrace the South Florida lifestyle, we’d love to hear from you. Our team of agents and brokers here at Niva & Jude 1st Class Realty Corp. specializes in the housing markets in and around South Florida.
Since we began in 2017, we have been able to build a reputation for providing first-class service and insightful community knowledge in the areas where we work. We take pride in our end-to-end guidance to clients in their chosen real estate transaction — from giving reliable market recommendations and securing down payment assistance to closing a deal on a home.
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