Miami Beach Apartments Read Guide >
Many Miami Beach apartments are owned individually, even in the large buildings. This leaves the final say on terms up to the individual owner, making negotiating possible and even expected. You never know when you’ll find an owner who is looking for a particular kind of tenant or who will give you a price-break if you maintain their lawn or some other situation that will work in your favor. Don’t be afraid to ask! Private ownership also means most owners can’t afford to or don’t want to lose a month’s rent, so they’ll expect you to move in quickly. Most application processes take a week or two, and many owners will want you to move in (and start paying rent) no more than two weeks after that process is complete. Places enter and exit the market quickly, so looking at specific units months in advance is not recommended. The standard dough required to secure a place is first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a security deposit, but again, in Miami Beach, rules are meant to be broken.
Miami Beach is a barrier island connected to the mainland by bridges, with the Atlantic Ocean to its east and Biscayne Bay to its west.
The Beach’s buildings are as diverse as its population, making it difficult to define pricing in a given area. In most areas of the beach you will find units big and small, new and old, cheap (relatively) and affordable only to the extremely affluent.
That being said, IN GENERAL:Miami Beach is highly desired real estate, with rental rates to match. Of course, if you’re coming from San Francisco or NYC things will seem reasonable, but you’ll be paying more than you would in your average town and even many parts of the Greater Miami area.
Prices go up with proximity to sea and sky. Expect to pay more as you get closer to the water and higher up in the high rises that line the beach and bay. Expect to pay MUCH more if you want to be right on the water. (Also expect to let out a long and luxurious sigh of pleasure every morning when you wake up to that amazing view!)
The eastern side of the beach tends to be more touristy and the west side more local luxury. Buildings get shorter and less expensive as you move inland. Places along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue are near the ocean on the east. Alton Road and West Avenue are near the bay on the west.
Rent tends to be most expensive per square foot in South Beach. You get increasingly more bang for your buck as you move farther north. Part of the reason for this is that the southern portion of the beach provides the easiest access to downtown Miami, something to keep in mind if you’re commuting. Miami is known for heavy traffic, so the area of the beach where you choose your apartment can have a big effect on how much time you spend in the car.
South Beach (SoBe): LIFE OF THE PARTY 1st -23rd street South Beach is considered by some to be the heartbeat of the beach and the place to be, and to other, tamer evaluators it’s a crazy whirlwind of activity where the loonies live. This is the area many tourists flock to, so you can expect lots of traffic, noise and general havoc, but also the best nightlife, bars and scantily clad foreigners. (Fun fact: Many South Beach clubs stay open till 5 am… And tourists don’t only party on the weekends. Remember to take weekday activity and noise levels into account if you’re a weekend-only wild child.) South Beach sports an art deco style, meaning you can find many older buildings amongst the newer luxury lining the water. This area is also home to a large gay population, with a Miami Beach Gay Pride organization and a gay beach on 12th street. SoFi: South of 5th street- SoFi is an exclusive bit of real estate at the tip of the island with water on all three sides. It is less touristy and more pricey.
Mid Beach (don’t you dare call it MiBe): THE GOOD LIFE 23rd- 46th street Mid Beach is a quieter, more family-friendly area than its wild neighbor to the south. Here you will be able to find more single-family homes and spacious residences. Mid Beach is home to a large Jewish population and houses synagogues, day schools and a few superb Jewish delis. There are also schools, churches and golf courses. FortyFirst to 62nd street and Collins Ave is the location of Millionaires Row, a recently revamped area of luxury apartments and hotels. Home to the Alexander Hotel and the famous Fontainebleau (which, by the way, you can live in year-round if you have some serious change to spare), this area does attract the upscale tourist, but they and the night life tend to remain within the resorts, leaving a more calm, residential feel to the rest of the area.
North Beach (NoBe): LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL 46th-88th street North Beach is more similar to Mid Beach than South, with a bit less of a strain on your wallet. Here you will find Miami Modern Architecture, dubbed MiMo, including a protected MiMo district from 63rd to 71st street. North Beach is home to a large Argentinean population, meaning excellent Argentinean steakhouses abound. Residents enjoy performances in the neighborhood at the North Shore Bandshell, an outdoor amphitheater at the beautiful North Shore Park. North Beach is currently experiencing an influx of high-end builders, which is having an upgrade effect on the whole area. (Note: The North Beach section of Miami Beach is not the same thing as North Miami Beach, which is an entirely different city. This slippery syntax could leave some dazed and confused, but have no fear oh wise apartmentlist.com seeker, we will steer you clear!)
Parking- In Miami Beach, finding an affordable unit with a parking spot is a bit like finding the Loch Ness monster in your bath tub or the fairy queen in your flower pot – difficult, but possible if you just believe. Parking options run from neighborhood decals to valet, so be sure to ask.
Do I even need a car? While much of the beach area is walkable/bikeable (Miami Beach even has a new bike sharing program called Decobike), if you want to voyage into Miami proper for work or fun, life will be difficult without a car. Miami does have several public transportation systems, but in comparison to most major metropolitans they are sub-par in ease and access. Air-conditioning- Miami Beach really is the city where the heat is on, with average highs in the 80s seven months out of the year. (In other news, the average daily temperature in January is 73 degrees. Northerners rejoice!) Here, the type and efficiency of your air-conditioning unit will affect your comfort level and your utility bill, so take good ‘ol Will Smith’s word on it and ask about a/c.
Amenities- In Miami Beach, amenity options run the gamut from a washing machine in the alley to full gyms, pools and in-building dry cleaners. You’ll want to take amenities into account when considering apartment values and what’s important to you. There you have it, my beach lovin’ amigo and we wish you mucho luck. With that last bit of Spanglish, we send you on your way, ready to ride the waves of your apartment search with ease!