The Real Deal Miami

Study reveals that nearly half of all Brazilian homebuyers in Florida spend less than $200k

By Alexander Britell | September 12, 2011 11:19AM


Icon Brickell

While Brazilian buyers have been receiving attention for scooping up
homes
in downtown Miami’s luxury condominiums, there are a significant
number of buyers from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo that are actually in
Miami looking for bargains.

Armed with a stronger-than-ever real
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 covering July 2010 to July 2011
recently released by Florida Realtors.

In the first of a three-part
series, The Real Deal looks at the breakdown of foreign
buyers in Miami.

It makes more sense given the kinds of ways they tend to use these properties, however.

“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.”

Brazilians have also been extremely active at Icon Brickell, according to Realtor Jeanne Nicastri, who is the founder of the Master Brokers Forum.

“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 34 percent buying single-family homes. That comes in stark contrast to, for example, buyers from the United Kingdom, who tend to go for single-family homes in large numbers — to the tune of 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.”