The Best Neighborhood in Miami Part 1: The Best Miami Neighborhoods for Families
What is the Best Miami Neighborhood for Families?
So, it is a little bit of misdirection to start off by saying ‘This is the best neighborhood ‘. Obviously it is not that simple, but in essence if you are reading this you are quite likely a relocating family finding your way to Miami trying to figure out what is the best neighborhood for you to live in.
Using the term ‘best’ is extremely subjective, so what we will try and accomplish in this blog is detailing which are the best neighborhoods depending on your needs and of course budget. As we go down the list (we have several more parts to share with you) we detail what each neighborhood is ‘Best For’ whether it is for Schools, Families, Urban living, Beach living, Boaters or even a second home or investment property. You are going to find our video tours extremely useful as its a ‘go-pro’ style, driving experience through what we consider to be the hottest neighborhoods.
In the blog you are reading right now we give you our ‘Top 3 Best Neighborhood for Families in Miami’. Of course there are other neighborhoods to consider and we give honorable mentions to a couple more at the end of the article. If you are looking now to buy or are looking to buy in the next 12 months; pick up the phone and call me direct at 305.508.0899. Our articles are a chance to showcase a little of my knowledge, but there is so much more to learn and I can only keep my articles to a certain length so call me for more in-depth analysis and opinions.
What to Expect from Coconut Grove?
Coconut Grove is relaxed and homely. The Grove has some of the very best schools: Ransom Everglades, Carrollton School, and St Stephens, it is also a commutable distance to Gulliver Academy. More importantly, this is primarily a single-family market that has evolved over the last 100 years. The Grove was the first settlement in South Florida and has a very organic feel. Gorgeous green space with a high level of protection for nature and trees. There is nothing artificial here and in that sense the Grove is really quite the opposite of South Beach. It is often said that those who move to Coconut Grove never move out. Let’s be honest, if you are a family, you are probably going to heavily weigh-in good schools into this equation. Families also consider: safety, decent parks and social structure for families to enjoy. The Grove has all that; it is one of the safest areas in Miami and enjoys 24/7 police surveillance, it also has plenty of parks for you and your kids to enjoy.
‘Go-pro’ style, driving experience through the streets of Coconut Grove
Zoning restrictions are relative relaxed here (you can build up to 80% of the lot). This will however change next year (2019/2020). Arborists are very protective over the trees, so it has a very tropical feel with lots of leafy winding streets (check out our video go-pro tour above). Most homes are either from the 50’s or 60’s, but a good number of brand new, very modern homes have been built in the last 5 years. The center of the Grove is Cocowalk, which is currently undergoing a complete revamp and will provide the residents with a cinema and an array of new shops. Besides that, the Grove has a decent selection of relaxed restaurants. Look out for the Cipriani’s new hotel and restaurant!
Obviously as a highly desirable neighborhood for families, you will find most homes are priced between $1,000,000 to $3,000,000, unless you are on the water or in gated communities like Devon Ct or The Moorings, which will take you to a higher price point.
The Negatives of Living in Coconut Grove?
The Grove has few negatives, but an article would not be 100% useful if we did not point out what those are:
- Lot sizes can be somewhat restrictive in the Grove, particularly the North Grove (many lots are 10,000 SF or under) and zoning means that many streets have homes located very close to each other.
- Some streets have heavy canopies of trees, which some owners love, but beware that they can restrict natural light into the back yard and if you try and cut them down the city will fine heavily.
- Although home to Sapient Advertising and Sony Pictures, Coconut Grove has a limited amount of Commercial space opportunity although this is starting to change.
- The Grove is one of the more expensive neighborhoods, but that is to be expected for a location that is so well regarded.
- There are sidewalks in the main streets, but not every street has them.
- Parts of the Grove are still rather bohemian and although that is changing there is still a number of more affordable homes.
Call me and I will guide you to buy within the ‘prime areas and streets’.
What to Expect from Coral Gables?
Coral Gables is a much bigger city than Coconut Grove with really a variety of homes across different sections of the Gables. There are a lot of historic properties and homes on much bigger lots (zoning restrictions means homes are no more than 35% to 40% of the lot size) and the Gables is also home to a number of very desirable gated communities like Snapper Creek and Cocoplum.
For families with children, this city is home to some great schools like Riviera, St Philips, St Teresa and many others with easy access to Gulliver, another highly desirable school. What else does the Gables have to offer? That will be: well-done side walks, parks and a beautiful historic city center, hence the appropriate name: ‘The City Beautiful’. The center of Coral Gables, which is Miracle Mile is truly very pretty, but for a truer Gables experience take a walk down Giralda Place; it has been revamped and pedestrianized and has many good restaurants. For me, The Gables ties equal in the No1 spot for Best neighborhood for families.
‘Go-pro’ style, driving experience through Coral Gables
In Coral Gables you will find a greater concentration of high value homes ($2.5M++) with homes on a number of golf courses or waterfront lots. Add to this the fact that you will find a good number of homes on large lots (12,000 + SF and even 20,000 + SF lots)
The Negatives of Living in Coral Gables?
The Gables, like the Grove has few negatives, but an article would not be 100% useful if we did not point out what those are:
- The Gables is really divided into 6 sections and some areas are very different to others. For example the part of the Gables closest to 8th Street or the North Gables differs completely from an area like Cocoplum, which is located East of US1. Call me to understand the differences!
- Coral Gables loses a lot of dense foliage in parts, due to clearance of trees and more liberal arborists than in the Grove.
- The zoning limitation in Coral Gables is strict; Just 35% of land coverage for one level homes and 40% for two level homes. If you want a big home you are going to need a big lot and that means paying for it. Expect to pay around $60 – $70 per SF for land in 2018/2019.
Pinecrest is just a touch south of Coral Gables and if you are a family with older kids and / or want a property on a sizable lot (30,000 SF or 3/4 acre or more) then this is the neighborhood for you and will become a first choice over Coconut Grove or Coral Gables. Pinecrest is home to ‘Gulliver Academy‘ which has become a number one choice for families (especially those with older children). In my experience, the morning commute for many families becomes quite laborious. A move to Pinecrest means you are much closer to Gulliver, which translates into a morning school run of 10 minutes or less, as opposed to 30 minutes.
‘Go-pro’ style, driving experience through Pinecrest
Pinecrest has some very palatial mansions and estates. With many homes sitting on an acre or more (44,000 SF++) it is not uncommon to find a larger concentration of big homes: 7000 SF homes or larger (something less common in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables). Also the price per SF is lower in this neighborhood, so you will get more for your money. Even new homes costs less, on account that land costs less.
The negatives for Living in Pinecrest?
- One thing to be aware of with Pinecrest is that it does not have the same level of shops and restaurants as Coral Gables and Coconut Grove.
- It is that much further from the airport and the beaches, but what you lose in convenience you make up for in lot size and property value.