John Sumberg

MIAMI—The South Florida economy is growing and trajectory will continue through 2013, driven by steady inbound investment from Latin America, China and Russia. So say the majority of respondents in a recent survey.

Commissioned by Miami-based law firm Bilzin Sumberg, the New Miami Investment Survey polled 200 Miami executives. About 60 percent of respondents characterized the region’s economy as “strong and growing” or “growing slowly.”

“At a time when other parts of the country are still struggling, Miami is seeing a record level of activity on the part of major international players placing confidence in our city as a business center and investment target,” says John Sumberg, managing partner of Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod. “This can be attributed to a number of factors, including the city’s gateway status, the affordability and availability of quality assets, attractive climate, and Miami’s strong brand perception around the world.”

The Bilzin Sumberg New Miami Investment Survey reveals that growth comes largely from real estate, tourism and hospitality. Close to 60% of respondents see investment pouring into real estate over the next 12 to 18 months, with condominium homes (33%) and multifamily rentals (38%) being the most attractive assets. Of survey respondents, 13% attribute growth to the hospitality and leisure sectors. Another 73% of respondents believe current conditions for tourism to be better than they were a year ago.

The chief obstacle to economic progress, the report concludes, is the city’s substandard transportation system. Indeed, more than half (55%) of respondents calling for significant infrastructure upgrades. A majority of those surveyed believe Miami International Airport (50 percent) and Port of Miami (59 percent) are the region’s chief assets for luring new investment. Participants in the New Miami Investment Survey also believe that Miami’s dominant tourism industry is on the uptick, with 58% of respondents saying the sector has grown slowly in the past year.