The Real Deal Miami

Experts now say Chávez death will have no impact on South Florida market

March 07, 2013 04:00PM

From left: Hugo Chavez, Miami and Rafael Saldana of Banesco USA

For decades, Venezuelans have flocked to South Florida, frequently buying pricey properties. But now, despite earlier fears that Chávez’s death might reverse that trend, experts tell the Miami Herald they don’t anticipate any change.

Venezuelans have been the top foreign buyers of Miami real estate, ahead of much larger nations like Argentina and Brazil, since at least 2006, when the Miami Association of Realtors began tracking foreign sales.

Some 47,000 Venezuelans live in Miami-Dade County and heavily Venezuelan enclaves such as Doral and Weston have been nicknamed “Doralzuela” and “Westonzuela,” the Herald noted.

In short, Venezuelans are so embedded in the fabric of the South Florida community that experts see little chance that will change suddenly following the Bolivarian leader’s death.

“I don’t anticipate Chávez’s death is going to have any major impact,’’ on the market, Francisco Angulo, a Venezuelan agent with Coldwell Banker, told the Herald. “Venezuelans – even pre-Chávez – were great partners with Florida and especially Miami.’’

Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, managing director of Miami-based Cervera Real Estate, told the Herald that she went to Venezuela last week and returned with 14 deals lined up.

Rafael Saldaña, president of Banesco USA, an American subsidiary of a Venezuelan bank, was similarly positive. “The influx of capital from Venezuela precedes the administration of President Chávez,” he said. “It has been always going on.” [The Miami Herald] –Sanna Chu