The Real Deal Miami

Miami condo sellers look to China amid Latin slump

Appreciation of U.S. dollar saps South American buying power

July 05, 2015 12:00PM

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Miami skyline

More developers and realty agents are marketing luxury condos in Miami to Chinese prospects as the South American market softens.

In April, for example, members of the Miami Association of Realtors and representatives of several condominium buildings in Miami attended the Beijing Luxury Property Show. The event in the capital city of the People’s Republic of China attracted over 5,200 high-net-worth Chinese interested in properties outside China.

Lauren Marks, marketing coordinator for two luxury condo buildings on Fisher Island, the wealthy community just south of Miami Beach, was one of the Miami-area professionals who attended the Beijing show. “I’m here on a fact-finding mission,” said Marks, who coordinates marketing for Palazzo Del Sol and Palazzo Della Luna on Fisher Island. “I’m trying to decide if this is the right place for us to facilitate a meaningful relationship with Chinese buyers.”

Simon Henry, co-founder of Juwai.com, a website that links rich Chinese buyers with international properties, said the top end of the Chinese market is looking closer at Miami. One reason, he said, is “Miami looks relatively cheap compared with some big cities like San Francisco and New York.”

The absence of a direct flight to Miami from Beijing, Hong Kong or Shanghai is an obstacle for developers of luxury condos in Miami trying to attract Chinese buyers. Spokesmen for Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific and American Airlines, which has a major hub in Miami, said the carriers have no plans to launch new service to Miami from China.

The Miami Downtown Development Authority conducted a study showing a slowdown in sales of new condos under construction in Miami, due in part to appreciation of the U.S. dollar against South American currencies, which has sapped the buying power of South American prospects. [Wall Street Journal]Mike Seemuth

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