Miami top destination for Latin American developers, but Russians and Asians are catching up quickly
Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia:
Nitin Motwani, one of the managing principal of Miami World Center said an industry gathering that Miami is fast becoming a top destination for Latin American developers, as well as Russian and Asian investors who are quickly catching up. He added “incredible growth” being experienced in Miami is not just fuelled by Latin America, but for the first time, “the entire globe” is getting involved.
Motwani cited one of their projects in Aventura consisting of 653 family homes, where at the start of the project the developer did not project a single Asian buyer. But now, when after checking the demographic profile of their buyers, at least 20% turn out to be Asians. He made the statement at the recent Opalesque Florida Roundtable.
“While Latin America is probably still our bread and butter, if you take a closer look at people starting companies or buying residential dwelling units, they are not just coming from South America anymore, but from New York. The highest priced condos on Miami Beach and Downtown are being sold to New Yorkers who are starting to spend more time down here, and probably in the back of their minds they are saying ‘we should be buying bigger units because we will live here eventually or at least spend a lot more time…’,” Motwani explained.
Motwani added that only recently, a developer friend told him that investors from the Middle East, including from Saudi and Kuwait are coming in Florida. “This is a completely new phenomenon. Qatar Airways just announced they will launch a direct flight to Miami. We also have direct flights from Moscow helping to bring a lot of Russians here,” he said.
Julie Neitzel, a partner at Wealth Enterprise Family Offices agreed. She said that at least 16 out of the 20 development projects currently undergoing in the Greater Miami area are funded by Latin American developers that bring Latin American capital into Florida to undertake developments in the state.
She added that this trend only shows that there are plenty of inbound activities which point to the inbound and outbound movements of investment capital in Florida’s real estate space.
“When you look at what’s happened in the real estate market here, since the global financial crisis, we know that most of the primary buyers have been offshore buyers from Latin America coming in with cash to purchase condos that were vacant five years ago. What’s been really interesting to analyze is the actual capital outflows and inflows from Latin America for real estate development. For one, there has been a lot of outbound capital flow into Latin America – I am referring to, for example, the Trump Organization which I understand is developing a luxury condo project in Montevideo, and Jorge Pérez/The Related Group working on a substantial luxury condo project in São Paulo, and another possibly in Rio.”
In fact, Motwani said that the real estate sector in Miami is exciting again that he took back the words he said when he left Fort Lauderdale in South Florida to work as a trader at Goldman Sachs in New York that he would leave real estate at the same time he left South Florida. “And here I am back doing real estate in South Florida,” he said.
The Opalesque 2014 Miami Roundtable was sponsored by Miami Downtown Development Authority and Eurex Group.
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