International millennial buyers are eyeing Miami luxury real estate: AREAA panel

AREAA panel on millennials and luxury real estate
AREAA panel on millennials and luxury real estate

Recent studies and surveys have shown that most millennials cannot afford to buy a home in major U.S. real estate markets, let alone a pricey condo in a luxury tower in Miami.

Yet, real estate experts who participated in the Asian Real Estate Association of America 2017 Global Luxury Summit this past weekend claim a small, high net-worth segment of the coveted demographic are increasingly shopping for homes in South Florida.

Karen Chau, Asia general manager for real estate tech company Investorist, told attendees at the Four Seasons Hotel in Brickell that Chinese millennials are bullish on real estate. A recent study by HSBC found that nearly 70 percent of young adults in China are already homeowners.

“Many buyers in China are millennials who have been educated in the U.S. and have gone back to China to further careers but still consider U.S. real estate a desirable and sound investment,” Chau said.

During a panel discussion on millennials and luxury real estate, Coldwell Banker’s The Jills sales associate Danny Hertzberg said he’s had success with young entrepreneurial buyers looking to acquire luxury properties in Miami. “They are in their mid-twenties to early thirties and come from a start-up, tech background,” Hertzberg said. “And they are expecting a very high standard from the brokers they hire.”

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Hertzberg said millennial clients he has worked with are proactive buyers who conduct listing searches on their own, as well as compile market data on neighborhoods where they want to buy. “They have done their due diligence on everything,” he said. “That means you have to come in with more. They want someone who can add value and not someone who just comes with a bunch of listings.”

Panelist John Jones, a private mortgage banking and area sales manager for Wells Fargo, said roughly 54 percent of millennials who seek home financing are college-educated women. “Lenders have to differentiate themselves by customizing the types of products they are offering,” Jones said. “For instance, they want to know what different payment options are available. They want to know how they can maximize their home ownership.”

Hertzberg added that real estate experts must have a savvy social media strategy to interact successfully with millennial buyers. “Their worlds have shifted to Instagram,” he said. “International luxury millennials may not have a Facebook account, but they certainly have Instagram, which is something everyone should put their energy into. After all, real estate is all about images and video.”

This was the first year that the association, known by its acronym AREAA, hosted its annual global summit in Miami. More than 700 real estate professionals attended the three-day event.

“Our goal is to provide educational opportunities to Miami’s local community that is interested in servicing the Asian American market,” said AREAA Greater Miami chapter president Jesse Ottley. “I think in the next 10 years, we will see a shift in Miami, and a big part of that will be the influence of Asian investors settling down here.”