Real Estate News

After Trump, Russians are back in the game for Miami real estate

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, during the first official phone talks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Putin and Trump exchanged views on Russia-U.S. relations as Republicans in the U.S. Senate intensify calls to keep sanctions on Russia in place.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, during the first official phone talks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Putin and Trump exchanged views on Russia-U.S. relations as Republicans in the U.S. Senate intensify calls to keep sanctions on Russia in place. Bloomberg

After the election of President Donald Trump, Russian buyers are back in the game for Miami real estate.

Russians topped the list of foreign nationals searching for homes on the website of the Miami Association of Realtors in November, according to a report released Monday by the Realtors’ group.

That’s the first time Russia has finished number one since the association began tracking search data in 2013. In November 2015, Russia finished fifth on the list, behind Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia.

Most high-net worth Russian clients are pro-Trump.

Oren Alexander, broker

Trump has promised a better relationship with Russia and his administration could roll back sanctions initiated by Barack Obama over Russian involvement in the conflicts in Crimea and Ukraine.

“There’s no doubt that Russian buyers think America is a good place to be again,” said Oren Alexander, a luxury real estate broker at Douglas Elliman. “Most high-net worth Russian clients are pro-Trump. ... I’m already starting to see them come back. It’s really not surprising.”

Alexander points to luxury markets in Bal Harbour, Sunny Isles Beach and Fisher Island as places that attract Russians.

Russian mogul Vladislav Doronin has also made a big bet on Miami real estate with several high-profile land deals and development projects.

From Moscow to Miami

Wealthy Russians invested heavily in Miami before and after the housing bust. But a weak ruble, struggling oil market and U.S. sanctions have eroded their buying power since 2014.

A favorite destination was Sunny Isles Beach, where Trump licensed his name to six condo projects. Nine percent of households there report Russian origins, the highest rate in Miami-Dade County, according to U.S. Census statistics.

In 2008, Trump sold a Palm Beach mansion he owned to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million, CNN reported.

The president’s alleged ties to Russia and positive relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin became a campaign issue and gained new attention after online news site Buzzfeed published a lurid but unverified dossier on the subject.

Nicholas Nehamas: 305-376-3745, @NickNehamas

List of foreign countries visiting the Miami Association of Realtors website in November

1) Russia

2) Colombia

3) Venezuela

4) Argentina

5) Canada

6) Brazil

7) India

8) Philippines

9) Spain

10) United Kingdom

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