How Smart Home Technology is Raising the Value of Properties in South Florida

How Smart Home Technology is Raising the Value of Properties in South Florida

HOLLYWOOD, FL–Florida’s real estate market continues to sizzle, with some property owners seeing the benefits of smart technology in raising the value of their properties. Florida is among the top 10 trending areas in the US when it comes to smart homes, according to a Google Trends report within a 12-month period.

For instance, Charles M. Adams, owner of a 30,561-square-foot smart home in North Palm Beach, is selling his smart home for a staggering $37 million after purchasing it for $1.5 million in 2015. He custom-built it with a chef’s kitchen, a private salon and spa, a glass elevator, movie theater, a full-house generator and a six-car climate-controlled garage.

Many homeowners may have initially eased their way into automation via a door lock or virtual assistant, but now they see the value of having a custom-built smart home like Adams.

Real estate boom at all-time high

South Florida has something good going for it. Homeowners are showing keen interest in home automation at a time when real estate is booming, fueled by the migration of people from other big cities.

Florida became one of the two main destinations of choice (Texas is the other one) for what many believe have been its advantages: an open economy, lower population density, the absence of a state tax and of course, the tropical climate.

The migration to Florida is coming primarily from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Illinois; it runs second to Texas for movers from San Francisco, California.

The result: properties are now selling 30 percent above its list price, with both home and condo buying in South Florida at an all-time high–30% up for home; 50% up for condos; home improvement projects are also up. In Palm Beach, single-family home contracts over $1 million increased by 268% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Since 2018, Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez has been working on tech startup initiatives but it was in late 2020 and subsequently after that, when the mayor’s encouraging tweets with tech leaders ignited the spark for companies to move down to Florida.

From December 2020 to January 2021, Miami reportedly saw a net migration of 145%, while the Silicon Valley-Bay Area region saw -47.2% net migration. During the same period, an analysis of 42,666 Tweets found a 129% increase in mentions of moving to Miami. A positive net migration rate means that more people are moving into an area than are leaving it.

Some of the biggest names who moved to South Florida are Keith Rabois, general partner at Founders Fund who purchased a $28.9 million home in Miami Beach last year; David Blumberg, founder-investor of Blumberg Capital, who relocated to Hallandale Beach last December; Jonathan Oringer, founder and executive chairman at Shutterstock, bought a $42 million home in Miami Beach last October; Kim Perell, angel investor and CEO of who purchased an $11-million Miami Beach mansion last year; and Bill Harris, former CEO of PayPal Holdings and Intuit, who relocated to Miami recently.

In total, there are now 44 billionaires in South Florida, including billionaire investor Carl Icahn who moved his headquarters from New York to Miami.

Movers and shakers in South Florida

Below are some companies that are planning to move or have moved to South Florida:

  • ACI Worldwide Corp. The payment systems company signed a lease for an office in Coral Gables. It powers e-payments and banking for financial institutions, retailers and billers.
  • Candex. Originally headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, the fintech company that engages, tracks and pays for any for any good or service moved its headquarters from San Francisco to South Florida last October.
  • Colony Capital. The Los Angeles-based investment firm moved its corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to Boca Raton in early 2021. It operates a global digital infrastructure, real estate and investment management firm.
  • Elliott Management Corp. The $41 billion-asset hedge fund, led by billionaire Paul Singer, announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from New York City to West Palm Beach last year.
  • Pipe Technologies. The alternative financing platform for startups moved its headquarters from Los Angeles to Miami in late 2020. It raised $50 million from investors that included Slack, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
  • ShiftPixy. The contingent part-time work platform has moved its headquarters from Irvine, California to Brickell Key. ShiftPixy is opening a ghost kitchen incubator program by Labor Day of this year.

Other companies with new offices

  • Benefytt Technologies: The health insurance firm leased more than a 26,000-square-foot office in Fort Lauderdale. It operates health insurance marketplaces, agency technology systems, and administration platforms.
  • Blackstone: The New York-based private equity firm signed a lease for an office in downtown Miami in early 2021. Last October it announced it would expand in South Florida. It invests capital on behalf of pension funds, large institutions and individuals.
  • Boston Private. Last January the Boston wealth investment management firm opened an office at the Four Seasons’ Hotel office tower, its second location in South Florida. It recently announced plans to double the size of its Brickell office.
  • Florida Funders. The most active venture capital firm is a hybrid of a venture capital fund and an angel investor network that discovers, funds, and builds early-stage technology companies. It is actively searching for an office space.
  • Founders Fund. The Silicon Valley venture capital firm signed a one-year lease for an office space in Brickell. Among the firm’s partners are PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, former Google engineer Brian Singerman and Opendoor co-founder and startup investor Keith Rabois.It invests in companies building revolutionary technologies.
  • Future Tech Enterprise: The global IT company is moving its executive headquarters from New York to Fort Lauderdale in a bid to grow its South Florida market share.
  • Globant. Headquartered in Buenos Aires, the IT and software development company plans to have a “Smart Venues Hub” in Miami.
  • Novo. The New York-based digital banking platform opened an office in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood in March. It plans to double its local team in 2021.
  • Palm Drive Capital: The New York-based investment firm, which primarily invests in Latin American startups, opened an office near Miami’s Midtown neighborhood.
  • Point72 Asset Management. The Connecticut-based firm, led by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, will open an office for about 45 employees at 360 Rosemary in West Palm Beach.
  • SwagUp. The firm, which designs and manufactures high-quality swags for businesses, opened an office in Miami last year.
  • Thoma Bravo. The Chicago-based 40-year-old private equity firm signed a lease in Brickell. It focuses on investments in the software and technology-enabled service sectors.
  • Virtu Financial. The publicly traded fintech, headquartered in New York, announced it will open an office at DiVosta Towers in Palm Beach Gardens. Its newly leased 10,019 square-foot office space will host executives, sales, traders and technology staff.
  • Wealthspire Advisors. The New York-based investment advisory firm, with $13 billion in assets under management, will open an office in Boca Raton.
  • Zumper. The San Francisco-based home rental marketplace plans to open an office in downtown Miami or Wynwood.

(Dennis Clemente)

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