Foreign buyers snapping up real estate bargains in trendy Florida locations
Dec 15, 2010
Further evidence is emerging that foreign buyers are seeing bargain prices in Florida as the ideal opportunity to invest in the troubled US real estate market.
Real estate agents in Miami are reporting an influx of buyers from Europe, South America and Canada as prices in the state stay at rock bottom.
The property investors are jostling over apartments in Miami’s trendy South Beach area that are on sale for just $70,000 to $100,000 and in less exclusive areas to the north where they start at around $50,000.
‘The buying opportunities are maybe the best ever. Who knows if we’ll see prices again like today’s in Miami Beach,’ Keys Real Estate agent Michelle Iglesias told AFP.
Property prices in Miami have fallen by almost half since the real estate bubble peaked in 2006, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price index. Analysts predict that real estate market prices will not increase until the banks get rid of all their foreclosed properties and there are more jobs in the region.
‘Unemployment is still high. People are afraid of losing their homes and credit is hard to get,’ said Standard & Poor’s vice president Maureen Maitland.
It is estimated that every month in and around Miami the banks repossess about 5,000 properties, including apartments and commercial real estate, for delinquent mortgage payments, according to real estate brokerage Codovultures Realty, which has 250,000 such properties on its books across southern Florida.
It if foreign investors that are preventing prices from plunging even further, the Miami Association of Realtors said in its November report. ‘The international buyers continue to fuel market strengthening, we continue to observe positive signs,’ said association president Oliver Ruiz.
An example of a typical foreign buyer is Beatriz Lamanda, from Venezuela, who has bought two apartments north of Miami Beach for $80,000. ‘I’d rather put my money in real estate than leave it in the bank. In a few years I’ll make a nice bundle because the prices are going to go up, no question,’ she told AFP.
Daniel Lemin arrived from France on a three day business trip and promptly sought a real estate broker to look over some apartments. ‘It’s a great time for investing and while I wait for prices to go up, I’ve got an apartment in Miami I can use or rent out,’ he said.
In the Icon, a three building apartment complex by French designer Philippe Stark in Brickell, Miami's newest financial district, apartments are selling for $250,000, down from $370,000 two years ago.
‘We’ve sold 350 units in the last few months. Most of the buyers are international, from countries like Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil and also Colombia, Italy, Mexico and Canada,’ said Alejandra Castillo of Fortune International.
Foreclosed properties owned by banks in the area go for less than $100,000 and two bedroom, two bathroom apartments for as little as $130,000.