Real Estate News

Brazilians top website searches for Miami real estate

Real estate agent Fabiana Pimenta shows the Artefacto model apartment to Maria Helana Abreu of Brazil in 2011. Brazilians have been among the top investors in South Florida’s luxury condo market since the financial crisis ended.
Real estate agent Fabiana Pimenta shows the Artefacto model apartment to Maria Helana Abreu of Brazil in 2011. Brazilians have been among the top investors in South Florida’s luxury condo market since the financial crisis ended. Miami Herald

They can’t get enough of Miami in Brazil.

For the 12th consecutive month, Brazilians topped the list of foreigners searching the website of the Miami Association of Realtors for local real estate deals.

Rounding out the top five for May were prospective buyers from Colombia, Canada, Venezuela and Argentina, according to a report released Tuesday by the realtors’ association.

The most domestic web searches came from California, Georgia, Texas, New York and Illinois.

Miami is the third most popular city in the country for foreigners to search, after New York and Los Angeles.

Foreigners have fueled Miami’s real estate boom since the financial crisis ended.

In 2014, Latin American buyers made the most purchases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties among global consumers. Venezuelans accounted for the most international deals with 16 percent of the total. Argentinians made up 12 percent and Brazilians 11 percent.

In recent months, currency crises and political instability in Latin America and Europe have made foreign buyers more eager than ever to move their money out of their home countries and into safer investments such as American real estate.

But a strong dollar and rising home values in South Florida have limited the buying power of many foreigners.

The Brazilian real is down 41.8 percent against the dollar since May 2014, according to research conducted by EWM Realty International.

Jennifer Santos Sily, an attorney at Becker & Poliakoff who works with foreign real estate investors, said she’s noticed a shift in the Brazilian market toward wealthier buyers.

“When the dollar was weaker we had a lot of middle-class Brazilians purchasing properties with cash,” Sily said. “Now the middle class is a little more reserved with their purchases, and there’s more financing happening.”

“People buying property in the $300,000 to $700,00 range are not buying as much in bulk as the higher-end clients,” Sily added.

The Colombia peso (down 33.5 percent), Euro (down 24 percent), Canadian dollar (down 14.8 percent) and Argentine peso (down 11.4 percent) have all suffered, too.

Venezuela’s bolívar has stabilized this year but has plummeted nearly 200 percent against the dollar since 2007, EWM found.

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