Post-Messi, Global Interest for South Florida Multifamily Is Skyrocketing

How the soccer superstar’s move to Miami is bringing stepped-up global attention to the market.

The arrival of Argentine soccer sensation Lionel Messi to South Florida last summer isn’t just about more thrilling matches on the field—it’s also stirring up the region’s real estate landscape.

The buzz surrounding Messi’s move to Miami continues, and it’s evident that his presence transcends the sports scene. Alongside other major events like Formula 1 and Art Basel, the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup further solidifies South Florida’s status as an international hotspot, drawing increased attention to its real estate market.

Over the past decades, Miami has experienced an incredible transformation and is well on its way to becoming one of the world’s leading cities, with some of the most attractive residential housing offerings globally, according to Rafael Aregger, head of investments at Empira Group, a fully integrated investment management firm with offices across Europe, the U.S. and the UAE.

“Messi’s arrival simply added momentum to the heightened interest we’ve seen in the area with substantial in-migration by both people and some of the world’s largest corporations,” Aregger told Multi-Housing News.

Furthermore, the Argentine Football Association intends to open a U.S. headquarters and soccer complex in North Bay Village, Fla. Plans call for soccer fields, a new community center, offices, sporting facilities, as well as a park. Though still in its infancy, the project is already acting like a major catalyst for real estate interest in the area. Several luxury waterfront residential developments are underway and more in the permitting stages, with both investors and buyers looking to seize opportunities in Miami’s evolving real estate scene.

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On the brink of a renaissance, North Bay Village is witnessing a surge in interest from both Argentine buyers and local families, drawn by the promise of new infrastructure and amenities. Among the most notable projects shaping the area’s transformation is 7918 West Drive, a luxury waterfront condominium which represents the first groundbreaking in the city in 10 years. Scheduled for completion in 2025—just in time for the 2026 FIFA World Cup—its appeal to high-end buyers underscores the influx of wealth into Miami since the pandemic.

Carlos Rosso, founder of Rosso Development, points out that such projects have a huge contribution to Miami’s growing allure as a global destination. In fact, the developer is also riding the Messi wave, as work is underway at The Standard Residences in Midtown Miami, a 228-unit project in the proximity of the upcoming Argentine Football Association’s headquarters. Located at 3100 NE First Ave., the 12-story building will be located in one of Miami’s most connected and walkable neighborhoods.

The Standard Residences is crafted by architecture firm Arquitectonica and interior designer Urban Robot, in collaboration with The Standard’s in-house design team and landscape designer Naturalficial. Ranging from studios to two-bedroom layouts, the residences will span from 432 to 965 square feet, with prices starting at $560,000 for a studio and $945,000 for a two-bedroom unit, according to the project website.

“Our international buyers at The Standard Residences are particularly excited about Messi’s move to Miami from a personal and investment standpoint,” Rosso said. “They look forward to being able to attend the games and rent their units out to soccer fans when they are out of town. As developers, we know his fanbase around the world will follow him anywhere, and we have been able to leverage the Messi momentum for sales and marketing,” he added.

The heightened interest from potential Argentine buyers in luxury residential projects across North Bay Village and Midtown Miami, coupled with these areas’ proximity to established Argentine communities in Miami Beach, has furthered enhanced South Florida’s appeal to prospective buyers seeking familiarity and comfort.

“Messi is an international superstar and the worldwide recognition he has brought to South Florida since joining Inter Miami is incredible,” said Maurizio Pejoves, director at Pacific and Orient Properties, the developer of 7918 West Drive. “However, South Florida has always been a hot market for domestic and international buyers and has a history of attracting people from Latin America and Canada,” he added.

Gains & growing pains

Drawn by the allure of living near a soccer legend, an influx of international buyers are creating unprecedented demand for residential product.

Pejoves noticed there’s a shift from predominantly domestic buyers during the pandemic to a wave of foreign investors seeking to capitalize on the desirable lifestyle South Florida offers.

Chad Carroll, real estate agent with The Carroll Group at Compass, believes there will also be a big opportunity for investors who own short-term rentals near Inter Miami’s stadium, and those looking to sell property in the area.

“There will be increased demand from visitors coming to watch Messi play and need a convenient place to stay,” Carroll said.

With the Messi effect driving demand for luxury properties and second homes, Aregger believes there’s a window of opportunity for developers, even in the current uncertain capital markets environment. With construction starts expected to remain low until mid-2024, developers who initiate projects this year stand to benefit from decreasing construction costs and reduced competition during the lease-up phase.

“With a lack of current construction starts, the delivery pipeline in 2026 and beyond looks very thin, which should allow developers delivering units into that time period to benefit from rapid lease-ups and low vacancies” Aregger expects. “The growth story for Miami continues to be on the fast track.”

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Numerous areas of the metropolitan region are significantly lacking in available rental units, which presents an opportunity for financially robust institutional real estate entities to strategize and execute projects aimed at addressing the supply shortage issue.

But even as South Florida emerges as a global destination for both sports and real estate, there are some challenges on the horizon, particularly as it pertains to the availability of for-sale homes.

Broker Associate Melissa Hoff of The Hoff Group believes there is a scarcity of homeowners willing to sell their properties. This limited inventory leaves potential buyers with few options, given the high demand and low supply. Therefore, home prices and competition will likely only intensify, and securing a property could mean budget stretching and bidding wars.

“For current homeowners, increased property values certainly help build equity, but also raise property taxes,” Carroll said. “Some locals may find themselves priced out as global interest reshapes South Florida neighborhoods. Infrastructure in the region also faces mounting pressure with this booming growth. Construction delays could momentarily dampen areas feeling these growing pains,” he admitted.

The Messi craze reshapes market dynamics

Angel Nicolas, founder & principal broker at The Nicolas Group, noticed the intense attention sparked by Messi’s presence in South Florida has practically altered market dynamics across the entire area. High-end neighborhoods favored by Messi and his teammates are experiencing heightened activity.

“With Inter Miami playing its home games in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Messi really put the metro on the map,” Hoff said. “Internationally, Miami is the most well-known city in South Florida, but with Messi purchasing a home in Fort Lauderdale, more eyes have been on the city located just north of Miami.”

Hoff noticed there’s an inclination toward new or renovated homes, reflecting a broader trend toward modern living spaces. When it comes to preferences among foreign buyers, Nicolas underscores the value placed on privacy and proximity to amenities. Waterfront communities, offering a blend of exclusivity and convenience, remain particularly sought-after.

Despite inherent challenges in the market caused by the current economic landscape, the continued migration to South Florida, coupled with Messi’s influence over foreign players, will likely bring long-term benefits to the area’s real estate ecosystem.

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