Capital inflow, healthy business boost banking environment

Miami Today
March 14, 2024
BY Abraham Galvan

South Florida’s economy is continuing to see capital migration and a healthy business climate, ac- cording to local banking experts. 

Miami-Dade County’s econom- ic market is still seeing continued capital migration into the area, said Daniel Sheehan, president of Vista Bancshares. “Miami has continued to not only attract capital but the people that come with it. The local econ- omy continues to stay young and bring youthful capital,” he said. “The reason why that’s important is that the youth and energy that comes with, whether it’s new busi- ness, job creation, etc. It’s really important for the economy.” 

Another point is the proxy for how healthy the business climate is, Mr. Sheehan said. “I’m unaware of any other market in the country that is still announcing large-scale office development, I can’t tell you anywhere in the country where lenders are considering lending and developers are putting money into designing and building brand-new office buildings. That’sa great proxy for the health of the local and regional economy.” 

Miami and South Florida, in par- ticular, is very different dynamic, added Calixto Garcia-Velez, presi- dent and CEO of Banesco USA. 

“We continue to press forward with lending, even in commercial real estate when most banks pulled back in the last year or so. We continue to push forward because we were very bullish on South Florida,” he said, “We tracked appraisals, sales trends, and vacan- cies across all the different asset classes on a monthly and quarterly basis and we had been seeing that there was a complete dislocation between what was being reported on the national trends and what was actually happening in South Florida.” 

It looks like the local economy is headed for a soft landing, he said. “South Florida has not suffered the commercial real estate woes that you’re reading about other major cities in the United States and we attributed it to three things,” Mr. Garcia-Velez said, “to the fact that Miami continues to be the capital of Latin America, and there’s always a flow of money. When countries are doing well, people bring their safety money here, and when coun- tries are troubled, they bring their safety money here. This has always been the case for South Florida.” In the past 10 years, Western Europe had discovered Miami, he continued. 

“The number of Spaniards, Ital- ians, Germans, and English who are moving or buying property in South Florida has really picked up, which is fabulous,” Mr. Garcia- Velez said. “Most recently, the last of the capital migrations have been people from New York or the Northeast and California.” 

From private equity and hedge funds to importers, South Florida’s economy has never been as diverse as now, Mr. Sheehan said. 

“The South Florida economy has become much more diverse across not only boasting tourism, but financially,” he said, “We have a lot of manufacturing, logistics, a lot of tech that didn’t exist 10 years ago.”