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Miami has often been given the droll moniker of The Capital of Latin America. While this, of course, isn’t literally true, for anyone who has spent considerable time there, it has a certain ring of accuracy to it.

Miami is, perhaps, the youngest of major United States metro areas. Incorporated in 1896, it was just another inaccessible Florida town, with little more than beaches, swamps and orange groves. In an era before widespread, efficient personal travel, the idea of tourism, even of U.S. citizen traveling within their own country, had not yet developed into its modern, widespread form. But that all began to change when, in 1905, Henry Flagler, partner of John D. Rockefeller and known as the Father of Miami, opened the Overseas Railroad to Key West. This was augmented by the burgeoning source of visitors from both automobiles and air travel. By the time the Interstate Highway System had been completed, the city had grown from 300 people to 300,000.

Today, the city boasts one of the nicest year-round climates of anyplace in the country. It is a magnet for tourists the world over and has a diversified and dynamic economy. It also has some of the most interesting demographics of any U.S. city. Miami is 72 percent white, by census estimates. But it is also 70 percent Latino and 20 percent black. This reflects the 34 percent of the population that is of Cuban origin as well as the many different Latino nations represented among its citizens’ ancestry. Many of these groups self-identify as white, even though many do not speak English as a first language. Most of the permanent Latino residents of Miami are upper-class Latin American expatriates or their descendants. This gives the city a distinct flare that is markedly different from other Latino-dominated cities throughout the U.S.

Violent crime in Miami is high. But it’s important to note that the crime is highly concentrated in Detroit-like ghettos, such as Liberty City. Many of the city’s gated residential communities are as safe as Naples or Marco Island. The city has the high rates of property crime that are typical of other large U.S. cities. Automobile theft has been an ongoing plague in the city.

One surprising aspect of Miami is that it has incredibly high-performing schools for a city of its size with such high levels of diversity. This may be a reflection of the strong work ethic and industriousness of its Cuban core demographic. Most schools within the Miami public schools system are top-performers within the state of Florida. If you’re shooting for a good school for your kids, in Miami, you almost can’t miss. This is another factor that makes the city a surprisingly welcome environment in which to raise a family.

Miami’s median income is $31,000. This seemingly low number is a reflection of a large lower class, more than a statement on the city’s economic opportunity. For educated workers, finding a well-paying job in Miami is not difficult.

The median home price is $302,000, which is seemingly on the low-end for a subtropical city of this size. However, much of the housing stock is in the form of vacation-condo-type properties. This means that the per-square-foot price is $409, quite high for any city.

Overall, Miami is one of the premier cities in the United States and a rewarding place to live, if you can afford the nicer areas. For most Miami home buyers, however, obtaining a mortgage will be a necessary step in the road to owning a home.

What kinds of mortgages are good for Miami home buyers?

Generally speaking, the best mortgages for residential home buyers are the simplest ones. A linearly amortizing home loan is a form of mortgage that has fixed payments that never go up or down. It has a definite start date and a firm end date and there is never any money owed after the last payment, all fees are included in the mortgage payments. It also has a fixed payment schedule, usually monthly. This is the simplest form of mortgage and is highly recommended for those who are not buying property primarily as an investment. These simple loans have far less risk and minimize the chance of default and foreclosure.