While Brazilian buyers have been scooping up property, particularly in downtown Miami,there are a significant number of buyers from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo simply looking for a Miami bargain.
Armed with a stronger-than-ever currency, Brazilians are the second-largest buyer demographic in Florida after Canadians -- but 30 percent of their purchases in Florida are for $99,999 or less, according to data spanning July 2010 to July 2011 that was recently released by Florida Realtors.
"I think Brazilian buyers represent the market across the board," said Beth Butler, president of Miami-based One Sotheby's International Realty. "What we certainly see is they've bought many units over at the W [South Beach] for millions of dollars, but they're also interested in the $200,000 and $300,000 condos. I think it's a broad spectrum of the market -- it's like everything else -- people want all kinds of things."
"They're the biggest buyers at Icon Brickell," she said. "The prices they're buying in there are closer to the $500,000 range, but what I'm noticing in my marketplace is that $1 million to $1.5 million is the most popular price range for Brazilians buying in the condominium market."
Almost 24 percent of Brazilian purchases are for $500,000 or more, according to the data.
"I think their interest in our market has turned it into an upward swing, because we have demolished the inventory," Nicastri said. "The way the dollar translates into their currency, and the way developers have slashed prices has made it a fabulous buying opportunity."
Almost 66 percent of Brazilians in Florida spend less than six months a year in their U.S. homes, with just 20 percent staying for more than half the year, the data shows.
The majority of Brazilian buyers, at 53 percent, buy condos or apartments, with only 34 percent buying single-family homes. That is in stark contrast to, for example, buyers from the United Kingdom, who tend to go for single-family homes in large numbers -- at about 62 percent.
"If you look at the average sales price in Miami-Dade or Broward County, it's much lower than anyone thinks, because what people focus on are the high-end sales," Butler said. "Obviously that's not the bread and butter of the market."
Source: The Real Deal