Foreigners take Miami's luxury condo lead
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Foreign buyers are snatching up more than half of the luxury condos sold in South Florida, brokers say, with stronger foreign currencies against the dollar, coupled with trimmed condo prices, driving the deals.
At towers such as Marquis Residences on Biscayne Boulevard, Icon Brickell and ArTech in Aventura, international buyers are dominating sales — in part because many pay cash, which is an advantage with financing more difficult to get now.
"The value they can get today is really very attractive," said Edgardo Defortuna, Fortune International president. "Many of the buildings where they are buying are at prices well below replacement cost."
Among nationalities accounting for the most foreign buyers are Venezuelans at 28%, Canadians 10%, Brazilians 9% and Argentines 8%, according to an international sales survey conducted by the Miami Realtors based on transactions in Miami-Dade from April 2009 to April 2010.
In the past four years, foreigners have bought more condos and homes in Florida, particularly South Florida, than any other state in the US, followed by California, according to a 2010 National Association of Realtors study.
JuliŠn La Madrid, a Spanish-born developer based in Guatemala, bought a three-bedroom unit at Icon Brickell's Tower 2 after touring several bayfront condos in South Florida.
"I invested in Miami, first because of its proximity to Guatemala, because it facilitates the communication and the international airport allows me to travel to other countries easily," he said. "Also, the weather, the water and the sun, was important, and the safety, because in these countries we don't have the same safety."