Business, Finance & Economics

Miami woos foreign buyers

Two years ago Miami real estate was party after party. Back then this man owned multiple different condos. Times were good, really good. Now today, the hangover after the party. Recently I met up with that man again and he says he's no longer buying and quickly selling properties. He says all his properties are all renting. He concedes that last year was the worst in his company's history, but he thinks Miami is now turning around. The Wall State Journal is predicting Miami real estate prices will fall another 25-40%. But the man and his colleagues have a strategy: to focus on foreign clients. This potential buyer from Brazil likes what he sees in Miami. His Brazilian currency gets him another 40% off from just a few years ago. He says when the dollar turns around it would be even better because he can resell for a profit. Miami's housing market is grossly oversupplied. This woman takes me for a drive along Miami's waterfront and shows that about half the new housing sales are to foreign buyers who use the houses are vacation homes. She says this area is being designed to mimic more of a European lifestyle. Today 82,000 properties are available in greater Miami, nearly six times the inventory of three years ago. All this is forcing Miami's real estate industry to get even more creative, or focus more on foreign buyers. This real estate analyst says the next targets should be India and the Middle East and then another factor in the mix is political instability in Latin America, which always helps. The biggest clients these days are from Venezuela, for example.