By DAVID LYONS
Fort Lauderdale developer Merrimac Ventures is proposing a pair of residential towers that would rise above 40 stories in Flagler Village. (Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, Inc./Courtesy)
Many renters are ramping up their searches for bigger places after COVID-19 forced them to work more than a year at home.
Although workers are gradually returning to their regular offices this summer, many are still being allowed to work at home full time or for portions of their workweeks.
Since the pandemic struck down the economy in March of last year, some are finding that temporary needs for extra space are becoming permanent. Moreover, the allure of starting
a new business from home has grown, creating a new reason for tenants to find more space. said Ken H. Johnson, a real estate economist and professor at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. “lnstead of one bedroom, they go for two; instead of two they go for three.”
Whatever their intentions, South Floridians now in the rental market had better hurry, industry experts say.
Two and three-bedroom apartments are being snapped up all over the region, said Sasha Ezquerra, who with her partner Santiago Illia operates Apartment Lease-Up Experts in Fort Lauderdale.
Ezquerra said inbound migrants from New York think nothing of plunking down $3,500 a month for a three-bedroom as they can’t buy space anywhere near that size back home.
“For New Yorkers, $3,500 is joke for them,” she said. “In New York you can get a studio for $3,500. That number doesn’t intimidate them at all.”