07 juin 2013 ~ 0 Commentaire

Venezuelans flocking to buy miami properties

When politics grow heated in Latin America, house buyers from the Panama Canal to Tierra del Fuego flock to Miami looking out for a secure place to park their assets.

Lately, Venezuelans in particular have been coming to the city in droves.

Since the Miami Association of Realtors started to trace sales to foreign buyers in 2006, Venezuelans have purchased more Miami real-estate than Brazilians, Argentinians or residents of another nation in the world.

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The buying began in earnest when Hugo Chavez began running the country in 1998. While the Socialist president was thought of as a hero among the working-class, many rich Venezuelans considered him a tyrant.

The fears of disturbance surrounding his October 2012 reelection caused another infusion of Venezuelan cash into the Miami home market. Local realtors joked at the time that Chavez should have been named Miami’s « Salesman of the Year, » according to Matthew Martinez, a local property financier and principal of Beacon Hill Property Group.

After Chavez died in March of this year, the ensuing election that put his inheritor, Nicolas Maduro, in office also caused fears — and more home purchasing in Miami.

Left-of-center statesmen elected in Bolivia and other Latin American states have inspired wealthy citizens of those countries to go looking for a safe harbor in Florida also. And, stockholders from Brazil and Argentina, where the economies are booming, are also putting their excess money in safe Florida real-estate.

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As a consequence, Miami has become known as a « global gateway, » very like Manhattan and San Francisco, that attracts deep-pocketed financiers from all over the world, declared Neisen Kasdin, an estate development solicitor and former mayor of the city of Miami Beach.

The influx of customers, combined with the industrial recovery in the U.S, has made a dramatic turn-around in Miami’s home market. Sales of single-family houses in Miami climbed 10.3% in the first three months of 2013 compared with Twelve months earlier and costs jumped 23%, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

About Forty five percent of single-family home sales and 77% of apartment sales were made in all money, reflecting the heavy foreign presence. More than Ninety percent of sales to foreigners in Miami are made in cash.

« Two years ago, Miami was the poster child for troubled real-estate in the United States, » said Jonathan Miller, of Miller Samuel, an estate valuer and consultant. « It has morphed into a luxury brand. »

All but Six hundred of the 23,000 bubble-era condos that once languished on the Miami market have been sold, in the opinion of the Miami Association of Realtors.

« That old inventory is basically gone, » declared Kasdin.

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During the first week of May, five new condo projects in central Miami launched their pre-construction sales campaigns. Among them was the boutique apartment building Le Parc at Brickell, where units range all the way from 622-square-foot studios starting at $280,000 to 1,566-square-foot, three bedrooms for $699,000. The units have accessibility to a rooftop pool and jacuzzi and outdoor kitchen and feature high ceilings and imported tile floors.

« People who want to retire and go golfing, that is not Miami, » announced Alan Ojeda, a local developer and founder behind Rilea Group who’s building a 44-story apartment in central Miami. « The city is stuffed with youth, with life, with music. The major difference now, is that the South americans are not just parking their assets here, they are parking their families as well. »

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