Our first real estate venture started in 1999 with investments in multi-family apartment buildings in the art deco district of Miami, as well as single-family homes in other parts of Miami. Our activity quickly transitioned from traditional long term rentals to short term rentals, also known as vacation rentals. By 2002 MiamiHabitat became the largest vacation rental company in Miami at the time, owning and managing close to 50 apartments and 15 luxury vacation homes. Since its inception, the group has heavily invested and relied on its digital presence, allowing it to generate 100% of its revenues through the internet with limited dependence on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).
Properties that were acquired were gutted out and renovated by our in-house design and construction team. In addition, the firm’s principal co-founded MLR Realty, a South Beach brokerage firm focusing on the Miami real estate market.
Our brokerage firm was the best organically ranked real estate company on the web from 2002 to 2008. The principal spearheaded the firm’s growth through the creation of a multitude of real estate websites that ranked on the first page of Google in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian.
We ventured into condo conversions in south beach and later evolved towards the development of a successful multi-family loft project called the “Absolut South Beach lofts”. The project was awarded the “Best Loft Living in America Award” in 2003.
In 2003, we acquired 2 lots to develop the Absolut Bay Lofts and the Carat Bay Harbor. By late 2005, feeling that the market was changing ahead of the 2007 housing market crash, we decided to pull out of those projects, return all deposits and to halt all developments in Miami.
Miami Habitat was created in 1999 as a pioneer in the nascent vacation rental industry. We acquired and rehabilitated properties in South Beach and other upscale properties in Miami.
By 2002, the Miami Habitat group became the vacation rental leader in Miami with around 80 properties under management. Our business was 100% digital, our group achieved market dominance as it competed head to head with the largest vacation rental websites such as VRBO. Starting in 2008, the cities of Miami Beach, North Miami and North Miami Beach attempted to start banning short term rentals in Miami. In doing so, they directed their efforts against Miami Habitat group’s operations. Our company mobilized its legal resources and defeated all attempts by municipalities through legal disputes.
Miami Habitat was one of a handful of companies that were grandfathered and allowed to legally market short-term vacation rentals. From 1999 to 2008, we created and marketed close to 30 websites encompassing a variety of subjects such as real estate, tourism information, entertainment.
By 2015, our group received multiple attractive purchase offers for its vacation rental portfolio and decided to carve out its Miami vacation rental operations to focus on our Canadian and Bahamas endeavors.