The Real Deal Miami

Chávez death could impact SF market

March 06, 2013 11:00AM

Hugo Chávez and the Miami skyline

Since the downturn Latin American investors have helped keep South Florida’s luxury real estate market afloat. But with yesterday’s announcement of the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, industry experts are concerned that wealthy Venezuelans might leave South Florida for home, according to the South Florida Business Journal. 

Condo Vultures’ Peter Zalewski told the Business Journal that Venezuelans may begin to return home to help friends and relatives weather the political and economic storm on the horizon.

“Chávez’s politics worked to Miami’s advantage as many Venezuelans headed to South Florida to park their money and make a new life,” he said. “The question going forward is, what percentage of those Venezuelans who are living in South Florida would consider returning to South America to start rebuilding that nation? … South Florida stands to lose a significant foreign investor in the region for the foreseeable future.”

And Carlos Rosso, executive vice president with the Related Group, told the Business Journal that South Florida will be watching Venezuelan buyers closely.

“We think Venezuela will have a time of transition; right now it’s `wait and see’ what happens,” he said. “Hopefully Venezuela comes back stronger, which will be good for Miami.” [SFBJ]Christopher Cameron