A thousand years ago it was said that “all roads lead to Rome”. Today, there are real estate buyers from Rome as well as hundreds of other cities around the world are all buying Miami real estate as well as properties in South Florida.
During the most recent 2012 Real Estate and Economic Forecast Conference in Orlando, John Tuccillo, chief economist of Florida realtors, had said “I think we’ll see a steady and stable stream of international sales this year”. The residential demand is up again this year from buyers from Canada, Latin America, Europe and other parts of the world. Lower prices and favorable exchange rates have promoted purchases in Florida.
International buyers are ideal clients. They buy higher priced properties and most of the transactions are all cash, according to studies done in 2011 – Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida, prepared by National Association of Realtors. In fact, 77% of sales professionals reported that they had worked with an international customer in the preceding 12 months, up from 65% in 2010.
“This number may even be lower than the true number, because many foreign buyers do not use their foreign address” said Lana Bell, owner and founder of Sunny Realty. Many foreign buyers have already established residences in Miami and are looking to upgrade. In addition, many companies are relocating to Florida, including job-creating multinational companies, which is another positive factor for Miami’s international market.
According to 2011 survey, Canada is Florida’s top international market, accounting approximately 39% (up from 36%). In contrast, United Kingdom accounts for 7%, German buyers – 5%. The biggest jumps occurred in Latin America, where Brazil’s share of International market rose to 8% and Venezuela’s to 7% (both had been 3% in 2010).
Overall, foreign buyers were likely to purchase in a resort area or in a central city, like Miami. In Miami, Brazil and Russia are leading sources of international buyers, especially for condominium purchases in areas like Sunny Isles Beach, Miami Beach, Hollywood, Hallandale, Aventura and Bal Harbour. In areas like Key Biscayne, we see buyers from Argentina, Peru and Europe.
“Our agency serving buyers from South Africa, Australia, UK, Norway, France, Brazil, Russia, Canada and Latin America”, says Lana Bell, founder and owner of Sunny Realty. “About 85% of our transactions involved a foreign buyer” said Lana. From luxury Miami homes to stunning Sunny Isles Beach condos the real estate in Miami offers more than anywhere else in the world.
Two words sum up Florida’s appeal for international buyers: vacation and value. With its beaches, golf, tennis, shopping, boating and cultural and tourist attractions, Florida has been a global vacation destination for four decades now. Today, Florida also offers excellent value for international buyers compared with vacation destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
The 2011 survey found that 41% of foreign buyers purchased a property as a vacation home, 23% intended to rent it, 25% planned a dual use and 6% bought it for a retirement home. While many foreign buyers prefer easy to maintain condos, others buy single family homes and some purchase multiple properties in the same location. “We attract international buyers in many different ways”, says Lana Bell of Sunny Realty. “I speak Russian, but my agents speak Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Hebrew, so there is never a language barrier between us”.
We can expect a continued pattern of strong activity in the international sector, led by demand from Latin America as well as other emerging markets, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR (National Association of Realtors). Follow the trends in foreign currencies, because exchange rates are definitely a driver for international buyers, and Florida continues to be seen as a desirable place to buy.