As Miami’s housing market gains steam, fueled in good part by strong international demand, Francisco Angulo feels like he’s in the right place at the right time. He is based in Miami, with one foot in South America.
Angulo, who recently was appointed managing broker of Coldwell Banker’s Coconut Grove office, which encompasses Brickell and downtown, has honed his skills in marketing homes for international clients for much of his 18 years in the business.
He is the regional coordinator to South America for the National Association of Realtors, the big trade association.
The Venezuelan-born broker, who has lived in the States for decades and became an American citizen, travels extensively on business in Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Uruguay to build ties with counterparts there and to boost awareness of the Miami market.
He has led seminars in international residential sales for the Miami Association of Realtors, the local trade group where he is 2013 president-elect for the residential board.
The Miami Herald sat down with Angulo at his Grove office and then emailed him questions about Miami’s residential market.
Q: Are international buyers still keen on Miami real estate? Have you seen changes in where buyers are coming from?
International buyers in 2013 are continuing to show strong interest in Miami properties. Nearly one in three international transactions in Florida is in the Miami/Miami Beach areas. Seventy percent of those are from Latin America, followed by 18 percent from Western Europe. The top three countries of origin are Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil, followed by France in the No. 4 spot.
Now we are seeing increasing interest from new markets such as Mexico, the United Kingdom and Asia. Buyers from countries such as India, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands were not actively seeking to invest in Miami, but clearly this trend has changed significantly in the current market.
Q: What are some of the key things that international buyers are looking for in Miami real estate?
If they are moving to Miami, they are looking for public schools, safe neighborhoods, immigration options, and legal advice about taxes, among the top of the list.
If they are investors, international buyers are looking for a stable environment to invest their dollars and have an option to have a profit and a potential getaway to escape to Miami for political reasons in their country.
There are numerous reasons why international buyers continue to choose Miami-Dade as a location to invest in real estate, including accessibility to the sunny weather, excellent beaches, unmatched connectivity through state-of-the-art, reliable network facilities, and a highly trained, multilingual workforce that facilitates business.
Q: You are planning to help launch an Asian real-estate agents association. What is the goal?
Last year, I was invited to attend the Asian Real Estate Association of America, known as AREAA, to participate in their conventions in New York and Las Vegas. I was impressed with their association and decided to join the New York chapter, since there wasn’t a chapter in Florida. I met very interesting people and decided to explore the idea to found the AREAA Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Florida Chapter.
The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) is a nonprofit professional trade organization dedicated to promoting sustainable home-ownership opportunities in Asian-American communities by creating a powerful national voice for housing and real estate professionals that serve this dynamic market.
I felt the need to have one in Florida, specifically in Miami, to continue the wave of Asian buyers coming and boost their interest. In the past, Miami was seen in a negative way. Now they are seeing Miami as the cool place to be, with beaches, restaurants and shows, among other things.
Q: When you travel abroad to promote Miami’s real estate market, what questions do you get from real-estate agents and prospective buyers?
Is the market back? When is the good time to buy? Are there still any bargains? I get phone calls or emails from buyers who are lost and don’t know where to start. Assembling a good team is crucial. That includes a professional to guide them through the process, including a real estate agent and an attorney who are experienced in working with foreign homebuyers and an accountant to properly plan their future.
Q: You’ve been active in education programs at the Miami Association of Realtors. What is the group doing on the education front?
As the 2013 president-elect of the Miami Association of Realtors Residential Board, I decided to take advantage of the more than 1,000 seminars and events our association offers.
It is my duty to learn as much as possible, to teach our approximately 27,000 members that our association is not just for signing up to the MLS system, but to be a professional.
We must be up to date in technology, advocacy issues, and the market environment, among other things. My slogan: Get trained. Get involved. Spread the word.
Q: At the National Association of Realtors, what are the top legislative issues?
As America’s largest professional trade association, the NAR actively protects the interests of its nearly one million members daily. NAR advocates for federal policy initiatives that strengthen the ability of Americans to own, buy and sell real property.
The 2013 agenda has been focused on efforts to stimulate, stabilize, and strengthen real-estate markets across the nation while protecting the business interests of members.
A fundamentally sound and dynamic U.S. real estate market is an essential component of the American economy and fosters vibrant communities in which to live and work. Of course, NAR continues to advocate on the following issues: Appraisal, commercial finance, environmental, fair housing, insurance, federal housing programs, financial and credit, immigration with a main focus on immigration reform and the potential impact on international buyers.