Archives for November 2017

Evolving Real Estate Market: The New Miami is Made up of Foreign Buyers

Back in July, Business Insider published an article citing the buying power of foreign investors in the U.S., naming 5 countries specifically whose citizens were buying the most – a total of US$153 billion over the period of a year: China, purchasing US$31.7 billion; Canada, purchasing US$19 billion; United Kingdom, purchasing US$9.5 billion; Mexico, purchasing US$9.3 billion; and India, purchasing US$7.8 billion in real estate. And that was just residential, so it didn’t include statistics of foreign nationals buying commercial properties.

Nationwide, foreign buyers seeking property in the U.S. have become a notable force – but still accounting for just 5% of home sales in the country. When it comes to Miami and South Florida’s local market, this percentage is more than ten times that. According to a data compilation published in July 2017 in the Miami Herald, foreign buyers accounted for a whopping 80.2 percent of residential sales in Miami-Dade county. Miami has been called the “most international city in United States,” by the CEO of the Miami Association of Realtors, so this is nothing surprising.

During 2016, international sales came to a total of $6.2 billion in South Florida. Venezuela was at the top of the list of foreign nationals buying property in South Florida, making up 15% of sales. The country’s current political and economic unrest has been the catalyst for many residents to move their assets offshore. Following Venezuela on the list of top international buyers were residents from Colombia, making up 10% of international sales, Canada at 6%, Mexico at 4%, France and Peru at 4% & Italy, Ecuador and China at 3%. Brazil and Russia were also included in the list of top buyers. When it comes to interest and web searches, we see a slight shift in which countries hold the top spot of international buying power. As of July 2017, according to The Real Deal Miami, Colombia came in as the #1 country with its residents searching for properties in Miami to invest in. This was followed by Canada, Argentina, Venezuela, Spain, Brazil, France, India and Italy, in that order.

With plenty of change and shifts going on with foreign currencies, economic climates, political environments and morphing regimes, Miami continues to be a promising place for foreign nationals to live and work in. It is no longer a place just to liquidate capital in; the vibrant lifestyle Miami offers and the rapidly developing metropolitan quality of the city is attracting more and more foreign nationals to spend their time and money in. Developers in Miami are also catering to this shift in the international perspective of Miami as more than just a money vault.  

There was once a time when international residents simply bought up spaces in mixed use buildings and let their assets sit. Now, Miami’s growth paired with external factors have made it a more enticing place for these international buyers to come live in. “Lifestyle spaces” like the famous Brickell City Centre that includes a place to live, work and play in are being scooped up by foreign nationals at an dizzying rate. In Brickell City Centre’s Reach & Rise condos, 80% of the residential project is foreign owned. Also, the emergence of available foreign national loans and agencies that specialize in providing foreign national mortgages for residential and commercial properties in the U.S. has offered another alternative to buying properties with cash outright. Some Florida mortgage lenders specialize in providing financing to international buyers with special foreign national loans programs that walks them through the entire process from applying through closing, making it more accessible and comprehensive than ever for a foreign investor to buy property in Miami.

Residential spaces aren’t the only lure; emerging markets forming in pockets all around the city are driving more foreign buyers to invest in commercial spaces and projects, creating a self fulfilling effect in which the value they perceive in the city is being furthered by their investments.

With the steady influx of international property buyers, the city is looking more diverse than ever before. The pool of property ownership and investors is expanding, including a more diverse group of nationalities everyday, ultimately driving up the city’s value internationally. The future is bright for the magic city and it’s already diverse makeup is only getting more global and valuable  with every new property purchase and development.

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Why Investing in Miami Properties is a Huge Win for Foreign Buyers

Miami is one of those cities that has attracted everyone from all over the world for decades. There are more international buyers in Miami than in the rest of the United States. 72% of The National Association of Realtors members in Miami-Dade and Broward reported working with an international client back in 2014 – that’s much higher than the national average, which is 28%. Foreign buyers tend to spend more on properties in Miami than even domestic buyers.

As far as superficial reasons, It’s a no brainer; there’s sunny, warm weather virtually year round, offers proximity to some of the nicest beaches in the world, is a port city, features a young, energetic nightlife, offers world class shopping and many other luxuries. But apart from the obvious, there are some key reasons why it is a great place for foreign nationals looking for a place to buy properties, whether for commercial investments or for residential units.

Strategic Location

For Latin American and Caribbean buyers specifically, the proximity to Latin America is a huge draw. Going back and forth from Latin America to Miami is just a few hours of flight time for those who need to fly back whether to see family and friends or to handle business. The top countries investing in South Florida in all the surveys and research campaigns each year always include Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina among the top countries where the most foreign investors originate from. Over the past decade or so, growing instability in many of these foreign economies has also been another motivating factor behind the foreign investment boom. The U.S. is considered one of the most secure investments and Miami is as close to Latin America as you can get while still being in the U.S.

Miami is, of course, a thriving port city, with more than 40% of all national exports with a destination of Latin America originating from it. Miami International Airport is also at the top spot when it comes to international cargo.

Excellent Climate in which to Run a Business

With a diverse population comes a diverse industry landscape. There are thousands of multinational companies in Miami, offering a plethora of opportunities to Latin American and Caribbean investors. On a state level, Florida offers an excellent climate to do business in. The state levies no corporate income tax on limited partnerships, subchapter S-Corporations, NO individual income tax, no corporate franchise tax on capital stock, and no property tax on goods in transit for up to 180 days. The corporate tax for C corporations are just 5.5% of the net income, a competitive percentage compared to other states. The state also offers sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing and machinery expenditures as well as many other things related to a number of industries.

Foreign Buyers have a Good Reputation with U.S. Banks

Florida mortgage lenders have more experience with handling applications from overseas buyers than those in other states. Just 2 years ago, 80% of the property sales in Florida were handled in cash; however, the willingness of the banks to provide financing has brought this down to just 50%, whereas the other 50% of the sales are being financed. The banks in the state are eager to provide financing for international buyers due to their reputation. The familiarity that banks have with international buyers has led them to consider a foreign buyer as a reliable buyer who is financially educated and has plenty of capital at their disposal. Thanks to this good reputation, securing a foreign national loan with banks is not as difficult as it seems and sometimes, is even simpler than it would be for a U.S. resident or citizen.

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