Foreign home buyers have hit the pause button in South Florida.

Between August 2017 and July 2018, the most recent period for sales data by Florida Realtors, foreign buyers purchased $22.9 billion worth of Florida real estate, a 5% decline from the previous 12-month level.

Foreign buyer purchases accounted for 19% of Florida’s existing home sales versus 21% in the same period a year ago. Florida real estate from a foreign perspective is concentrated on South Florida, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach the main attractions.  The foreign buyer share to dollar volume of real estate sold there is nearly twice the national foreign buyer average of 10%.

Foreign buyers, mainly from Canada and Brazil, purchased 52,000 properties, a 15% drop from the previous 12-month cycle. All told, foreign investors made up 13% of Florida’s existing home sales, down from 15% a year earlier. On a national level, foreign investors buy around 5% of existing housing stock on the market, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Florida sales data were released late October. Latin American and Caribbean buyers accounted for the largest fraction of Florida’s foreign buyers at 36%, followed by Canadians at 22%, Europeans at 19% and Asians at 11%. The Asian investors are dominated by China money.

European buyers have been trending downward since 2016 , and while it looks like it coincides with the election of President Donald Trump, the National Association of Realtors blames uncertainty about income and employment from those employed in Brexit U.K.

Foreign buyers from Mexico have been cut in half, accounting for less than 1% now, and Venezuelan buyers are almost non-existent as most people who can afford to leave and want to leave have done so already. Venezuela is mired in political and economic crisis.

Speaking of crisis, Argentina used to be on par with Brazil in terms of Latin American buyers in Miami. But an economic crisis there (yes, another one) has put its share below that of China‘s.

Chinese buyers, who account for around 6% of Florida‘s total foreign investors today, up from just 3% in 2017, tend to be new immigrants. Most foreign investors are buying property for real estate appreciation and income. But for the Chinese investor, only 39% are treating their purchase as a fixed-income security. Many are migrating and settling there.

Despite being known as a luxury residences market for second homes, most of the foreign buyers, in South Florida anyway, are not buying anything near million-dollar properties, according to FloridaRealtors.

Some 71% of foreign investments into South Florida real estate was into properties valued at less than half a million dollars.The median purchase price among foreign buyers was $286,500 in the recent period, versus $259,400 last year. Foreign investors tend to spend on average 20% more than the locals do, with Brazilians and Chinese investors being the biggest spenders. They dish out at least $300,000 for a property.

Due to weak emerging markets and a strong dollar, Florida real estate brokers say they worked with less foreign buyers in the past 12 months ending in July. Still, some 41% of respondents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors say they worked with an international client, down from 44% last year. That’s nearly double the national average of 23% of brokers working on foreign purchased real estate deals.

Only 23% of Florida Realtors said they saw an increase in international business, down from 26% saying so last year.  And less than one-third of respondents said they saw more traffic from foreign buyers in the period ending in July, down from 33% last year.

As a result of weak emerging markets, and a strong dollar, just 34% of those surveyed by the Realtors Association believe this next 12-month cycle will be better than the previous one. That’s not a huge difference from a year ago when 37% of respondents said the same thing.

South Florida real estate has also been hit with the lack of new land deals and rising prices for new development projects. Many developers have been inching further north into central Florida instead, with foreign real estate investors just starting to discover it thanks to continuous Disney World expansion.

“Thanks to Disney’s and Universal’s expansions coupled with affordable real estate pricing, we are still seeing an accelerated interest in purchasing real estate (here) with buyers from as far away as China, Brazil, Colombia, and Iceland,” says Noah Breakstone, managing partner of BTI Partners and key developer behind The Grove Resort and Water Park in Orlando. “Lots of buyers see it as a better value than Miami.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, just under 11% of the state’s foreign buyers were investing in Orlando in 2018, down from 9.4% this year. Foreigners still prefer the Miami area, which stretches all the way to West Palm Beach. Some 54% of international buyers were heading there so far this year, up from 52.6% in 2017.


Source: Forbes

The real estate stability in Miami is still strong.

For four years, Miami’s economy in real estate has not met any downturn and consecutively even with the rising cost of real estate, it is evident that the city is one of the biggest players in this sector.

“South Florida offers world-class amenities, a top-tier arts and cultural epicenter, a diversified economy and more. The strong demand is leading to fewer days on the market for Miami single-family homes while buyer offers are near asking price,” according to World Property Journal.

Meanwhile, the increase in sales of properties was not only due to U.S. homebuyers. There was also a report stating that part of the buyers that are seeing potential and interest in the city is from the international market.

“Miami real estate continues to attract international buyers from all over the world as well as a growing number of domestic consumers,” said Miami-based Realtor Christopher Zoller

One promising note about the stability in the real estate of Miami is that the city offers a limited number of properties that can be loaned in mortgage. Out of the thousand properties that were available to sell to the public, only a small number can be allowed for mortgage loans. This makes it all the more visible how many are really eyeing settling in this city.

“Miami existing condominiums have been impacted by a lack of access to mortgage loans. Of the 8,523 condominium buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, only 23 are approved for Federal Housing Administration loans, down from 29 earlier this year,” based from the article and the statistics from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and FHA.

In addition to this, there was a policy that was worked on this month to open up more opportunities for buyers to own a property in Miami. This could detail in more growth for the city’s real estate economy as people who are opting to own a residence in this city can apply instead via a mortgage loan.

“By increasing the number of local condo buildings approved for FHA loans, more consumers will be able to access FHA’s low down payment mortgages. Accepting Citizens insurance and co-insurance clauses is another significant development, which would help more than 85% of Florida’s condo projects in complying with FHA’s insurance requirements,” said MIAMI’s SVP Government Affairs & Housing Danielle Blake.


Source: Realty Today

It’s no secret that Miami has become one of the world’s most attractive markets for international investors.

South Americans in particular have had a heavy influence in local real estate as one of the main demographics snapping up properties throughout South Florida.

But data from CBRE, a commercial brokerage that tracks such international trends, indicates that one region of the world is poised to take a much larger role in South Florida’s real estate game and in the United States as a whole: the Middle East.

Miami Beach EDITION hotel

Miami Beach EDITION hotel

So far, buyers from the Middle East have stuck to high-profile properties in Miami. This was made evident in February with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s acquisition of the Miami Beach EDITION hotel for an incredible $230 million. That sale accounted for the majority of the $280 million Middle Easterners have sunk into South Florida real estate during the first half of this year, according to CBRE data.

Plot on Indian Creek Island — the highest price ever recorded for vacant land in the neighborhood

Plot on Indian Creek Island — highest price ever recorded for vacant land in the neighborhood

Also in February, a corporate entity linked to Saudi Royalty paid $23 million for a plot on Indian Creek Island — the highest price ever recorded for vacant land in the neighborhood.

St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel

St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel

Compared to last year, buyers from the Middle East have spent $37 million more on Miami real estate, CBRE data shows. The previous year saw Al Faisal Holding, a private company based out of Qatar, pay $213 million for the St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel, among other smaller transactions. However, in the context of the region’s historically large purchases, that increase does not necessarily translate to a large uptick in activity.

The evidence of this emerging trend instead comes from looking at the huge amount of money that the Middle East is pouring into U.S. real estate.

For the first half of 2015, the region spent $2.7 billion on real estate in the Americas, according to CBRE. That’s a significant chunk of the $11.8 billion total that investors from the Middle East have spent on global real estate during that time period, and CBRE expects that number to grow by another $2.4 billion by the end of the year. Most of that money comes from sovereign wealth funds.

“There’s no question that Miami has arrived as a primary market for investors worldwide, in the same league with other U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco and D.C., as this Middle East investment report suggests,” Quinn Eddins, CBRE’s director of research and analysis for Florida, said in a statement.

“The amount of foreign investment in South Florida office, retail and industrial product during the first half of 2015 alone was over $775 million – more than that of all the previous two years combined. If we factored in apartment, hotel and land sales, that number jumps to more than $1.2 billion. A lot of capital is still coming from Canada, Europe and Latin America, but there’s definitely an uptick in Middle Eastern and Asian investment – it’s an exciting trend that we’re tracking closely.”

South Florida was the fourth hottest market in the U.S. for Middle Eastern investment during the first two quarters of 2015. It stands to supplant the third spot belonging to Washington, D.C., which saw only $1 million more in transactions from the region. Above D.C. is Atlanta with $338 million in purchases so far this year, and New York in the top spot with $1.1 billion, CBRE data shows.


Source: The Real Deal

The performance of the Miami real estate market remains consistent with record activity in 2013 due to strong demand despite increased existing and new construction supply.

Median and average sales prices continue to rise, according to the latest statistics from the Miami Association of Realtors.In the third quarter, the median sales price for homes in Miami-Dade County was $250,000, an increase of 8.7% compared to last year while the median sale price for condominiums rose 3.5% to $189,900. These third quarter price increases mark 11 consecutive quarters of growth for both single family homes and condominiums.

‘The Miami real estate market continues to attract the attention of both domestic and foreign buyers, fueling solid growth and creating opportunities for both buyers and sellers, said Liza Mendez, chairman of the association’s board. ‘While there is more supply available than a year ago, there is still strong demand, and the growth of supply, new listings, sales and prices is more moderate, resulting in a more balanced market,’ she added.

In Florida the state wide median sales price for single family existing homes in the third quarter was $182,000, up 4% from the same quarter a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtor. The median sales price for condominiums in Florida was up 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year at $139,000. Compared to last year, the average sales prices for single family homes and condominiums in Miami-Dade County increased 14.9% to $438,431 and 3.8% to $341,927, respectively.

There were 7,632 homes and condos sold in Miami-Dade County during the third quarter of 2014, a decrease of 5% compared to the third quarter of 2013, when there was record sales activity. Sales of single family homes increased 0.2% to 3,552, while condominium sales decreased 9% to 4,080 compared with the same period in 2013.

‘In Miami, market performance continues to vary greatly depending on location, property type, price range and other factors,’ said Franciso Angulo, residential president of the Miami Association of Realtors. ‘While in most cases, increased supply is offering buyers more choices and less pressure, others are still experiencing significant competition and bidding wars,’ he explained.

He pointed out that the Miami Association’s initiatives to increase inventory and focus on assisting members to get more listings has proven successful along with some additional distressed properties coming on the market. In addition, the fact that sales remain at historically strong levels while inventory is growing points to seller confidence. Sellers are listing properties for sale because they have confidence in the market, according to Angulo.

Home and condominium listings also increased in the second quarter but by narrower margins. There were 6,237 new single family home listings during the third quarter, a growth of 5.1% relative to the same period last year. New condominium listings increased by only 1% from 8,282 in the third quarter of 2013 to 8,366 this year.

At the current sales pace, current inventory represents 5.7 months of inventory for single family homes and 8.1 for condominiums. Compared to the third quarter of 2013, months supply of inventory for single family homes and condominiums increased 13.5% and 33.6% respectively. A balanced market between buyers and sellers offers between six and nine months supply of inventory.

The median days on the market of single family home listings during the third quarter was 45 days compared to 37 days during the same period last year, an increase of 21.6%. Similarly, the median days on the market for condominium listings were 57 days compared to 46 last year, an increase of 23.9%. In the third quarter some 55% of closed sales were all cash compared to 59.2% a year ago. All cash sales were 40.4% of single family home closings and 67.5% of all condominium sales.

Since nearly 90% of foreign buyers pay cash, the association says this reflects Miami’s position as a top market for foreign buyers. Miami has a significant percentage of international buyers, generating more than double the cash transactions than the national average.


Source: NuWire Investor