Related Group’s CEO and the Market for Luxury Condos in Miami Are Back In a Big Way
by Andres Leiser
Jorge Perez, billionaire real estate developer, has experience with a boom and a bust. Perez is the CEO of Miami-based luxury condo builder Related Group. He made a fortune as the luxury real estate market inflated in the early 2000s. When the South Florida bubble burst he lost more than a billion dollars. Right now, Perez is back along with the market for luxury condos in Miami.
“Business right now is surprisingly good,” Perez says. “And I say surprisingly because the expectations were that the U.S., but particularly Miami, was going to have a much slower rebound in the housing sector.” It was estimated that it might take over a decade for Miami to rebound from the bursting of the real estate bubble because of all the extra inventory in the condo market. There were too many condos built and too few buyers as when the market went south.
One thing that Miami has, that other cities like Phoenix or Atlanta don’t have is a pipeline of buyers from Latin America.
“At the beginning it was almost exclusively people from South America and Europe buying up property because they saw the great values that Miami had and they had the cash,” he says. The Latin and European buyers snapped up the extra inventory on the market while people in the U.S. were still waiting for the bottom in the trough of the recession.
Now, American buyers are starting to get back into the luxury real estate market. “We’re at the beginning of a new housing boom. We’ve seen prices increase substantially, particularly in Miami.”
Most real estate pros would prefer to not use the term ‘boom’ as many developers are still recovering from the wounds and scars inflicted by the last luxury real estate boom period.
Perez is an optimist. “I would have to be one of the dumbest human beings in the world not to be suspicious after what we went through a few years back. So I try to control the euphoria. We don’t start any job now unless the property is 80 percent sold with forty percent deposits that used to build the job,” he says. “But one thing we learned is that it doesn’t matter what you do to prevent risk, there’s always something else that could come up and bite you.”
Perez is living the American dream in his own way. He’s the son of Cuban immigrants. He received an education and started his career building affordable housing in the poorer neighborhoods of Miami. He is now a luxury real estate mogul and one of the richest men of Hispanic decent in the world. Selling people on the idea of owning a home is how he got that way.
Owning a luxury home is still an attainable part of the American dream for anyone who wants it. “Whether they get to it or not all depends on them, how hard they work and whether they want to do it.”
Andres Leiser is a local contributor for Constec Realty’s Miami luxury real estate website. Andres Leiser has been involved in Miami real estate FL for over a decade.
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