Foreign buyers dropped $5B on South Florida homes this year

Deal volume fell from $6.8B spent in 2022

Foreign Buyers Acquired $5B in South Florida Homes in 2023

(Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty)

Foreign buyers bought $5.1 billion worth of South Florida residential real estate this year.

That’s a $1.7 billion drop from the $6.8 billion they spent in 2022, according to data collected by the Miami Association of Realtors. Foreign and domestic purchases fell across the tri-county region in the past year, as the markets cooled following a pandemic frenzy. While foreign buyers spent less overall, they held onto their South Florida market share, making up 18 percent of total deal volume, the report shows. 

International buyers bought 6,200 South Florida homes this year, with Colombians and Argentines leading with the largest share of the area’s foreign market. The top three international buyer pools were Colombia, which represented 15 percent of international buyers in the region, Argentina with 14 percent of buyers, and Brazil with 7 percent. Buyers from Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Chile also invested in South Florida, according to the report. 

Miami-Dade saw 72 percent of South Florida’s foreign buyer sales volume, with $3.7 billion in closed deals. Broward had $1.1 billion in international deals, and Palm Beach had just $270 million. 

“The last year, the foreign market has definitely represented a larger portion of transactions,” said Jaclyn Bild, an agent with Douglas Elliman in Miami. Foreign buyers from Latin America have always played a significant role in the South Florida market, using the region’s real estate as a safe haven during political and social upheaval. 

Traditionally, such Latin American buyers purchase condos, making all-cash offers. With rising interest rates sidelining some local buyers, all-cash international buyers have a “competitive edge,” Bild said.

“They love Brickell. They like condos,” she said. “It’s an easier asset to manage.”

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Agents say the pandemic shifted the landscape for foreign buyers in South Florida. Many Latin Americans were unable to travel to the U.S., and subsequently bought fewer properties during lockdown. Legislation is also shaking up the foreign buyer market. Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law heavily restricting the areas that certain international investors could buy property. 

The law’s limitations have yet to really be felt in the foreign buyer market, agents say. 

Canadians are one of the most significant foreign buyer pools, according to Douglas Elliman agent Dina Goldentayer. Canadians are, she said, “the only foreign buyer that has a significant impact on the Miami Beach ultra-luxury marketplace.”

Goldentayer said other foreign buyers are not showing up for her deals priced at over $20 million. Chad Carroll of Compass also said he’s seen increasing Canadian activity in South Florida. 

“[It’s been] pretty consistent with the Canadians, really predominantly in the Fort Lauderdale region,” he said. Carroll noted many Canadians are making South Florida their permanent residence, if possible. 

“Everyone has made it very clear they want to be here,” he said.