Florida real estate market


Legions of foreigners are deciding, like other countries, that it's a good time to buy Florida real estate. The state is seeing a quite invasion of buyers drawn here by a potent array of the market forces as compelling as the climate.

Although wealthy foreigners have bought Florida homes since the state was settled, and Latin's have come to Miami for decades, the present buying spree is unprecedented in at least two respects: For one, buyers are coming from many parts of the world. And two, their purchases aren't confined to just one part of the state, but are heating up real estate markets all around Florida, In some areas, foreign demand is so strong, and developers depend so much on it. Fueling much of the interest from overseas is the belief that Florida real estate is a good investment as well as a good value,

Many foreigners who worry that U.S. stocks are overpriced now see Florida property as a relatively affordable way to add a piece of the U.S. to their portfolios, "They buy real estate rather than shares of General Motors," and is certainly cheaper right now than stocks, and they get the benefits of using it," in Florida, buyers from South America are leading the parade.

Of all homes and condos now have foreign owners, with the South American as the leading source of purchasers. The interest is there because of the economy here, tourism and the exchange rate," the Latin market is bigger than all the other European markets put together.

" That may be true now but the Germans buy lots and builds homes in southeast and southwest Florida. The country's high unemployment a labor cost is prompting many affluent Germans to buy a second home here because they see those purchases as safer investments.

"My opinion is the U.S. is the better choice for the next 20 years.'' Germans who buy and lease out Florida commercial properties, paying U.S. taxes on the proceeds, get double the return that they would by investing in similar property in Germany and paying taxes there. Meanwhile, foreign buyers in Miami-Dade County, especially Latin Americans, are fueling the biggest condo-building boom in nearly 20 years.

Forty-five condo buildings with 7,000 new units, normally about a five year supply, are under construction or planned for the next four years, A recent report from Appraisal & Real Estate Economics Associates (AREEA) commercial property bought by foreigners in south Florida indicates that in 1997 foreign investment exceeded $1billion in Dade-Broward-Palm Beach counties for the first time since 1981.

In Miami-Dade County, for example, about half of all new condos units are being sold to foreign buyers. Williams Island, an 80-acre playground for the rich in Aventura, will open its seventh tower this summer. To pique the interest of wealthy foreign customers in the $350,000 to $2 million condos Williams Island runs seven sales offices in Latin America, including ones in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bogota and Mexico City.

" They just doubled the size of their Sao Paulo office," Earlier this year an Orlando developer will market a waterfront high-rise just north of Miami Beach, some of the most costly and aggressive real estate marketing abroad is being done in south Florida and has targeted the Latin American market for a new project a planned 40-story, ocean front tower just north of Miami Beach.

To drum up buyers, the company runs 18 sales office in 16 Latin Americans countries. It recruits prospects through telemarketing and booths at shopping malls and sporting events in the region. At sales centers, prospects can take virtual tours of resorts or get free trips to Florida to see them firsthand. International market is prized in part because itís a novel concept to many foreign buyers.

This industry had a closed eye for a long time," But we don't have to overcome that closed eye on Latin America. My friend from Equador bought an oceanfront condominium in Key Biscayne Island in Miami Florida they could have vacationed closer to home in South America but they felt safer in south Florida " Gaby says the comfort we have here doesn't exist in Equador," Equador is not as secure as Miami. It's better organized and very comfortable here and we have a very tight security condominium. We're much happier here."