Cash-rich Brazilians are leading a revival in South Florida real estate – one of the markets hit hardest by the US property crash – underlining the diverging fortunes of the two largest economies in the Americas.
Brazilians, along with other Latin Americans and Canadians, have driven up prices of condominiums in the popular coastal neighbourhoods of Miami by an estimated 50 per cent from their lows in 2009, according to Condo Vultures, a Miami real estate consultancy.
One welcome feature of the boom is that Brazilians are paying in cash for 85 per cent of their properties, according to the US National Association of Realtors. Developers have responded by unveiling projects in Miami for the first time since the crisis.
“Right now everything’s all about Brazil,” says Peter Zalewski, principal of Condo Vultures, which tracks supply. “Brazilians are rock stars in Miami right now.”
Miami and other parts of Florida have for years attracted investment from abroad – from Latin America in particular. Along with the property markets of Texas, Arizona, New York and California, the Florida real estate market has tended to benefit from foreign investment during US downturns.