Canadian interest in Miami high despite strength of US dollar

A December 2011 of Miami's skyline (Credit: John Spade) and the Canadian flag
A December 2011 of Miami's skyline (Credit: John Spade) and the Canadian flag

On Wednesday, a group of 38 top real estate professionals from Toronto began a three-day tour that will take them to the construction sites of some of the more prominent projects in Edgewater, downtown Miami, Brickell, Doral and Sunny Isles Beach.

Their main goal is to learn what Miami developers are doing to lure luxury buyers and apply it to their projects in Toronto, although some told The Real Deal they are also interested in finding the right investment opportunity in Miami – as developers or buyers.

“I haven’t made any concrete plans, but we are here until Friday,” said Kobi Rabin, national director for The Brick-Commercial Design Centre, a supplier of high-end home appliances. “Even though some of the prices are very high, I am tempted to buy a condo unit.”

Rabin and the other 37 attendees are members of Toronto’s Building Industry and Land Development Association, which organized the trip. The association chose Miami based on the innovation local developers are bringing to urban living, said tour chairwoman Cindy Lloyd, executive vice president and associate publisher for Toronto-based HOMES Publishing Group.

“We want to see how builders are using sparse land to its best ability,” she said. “As well as what is attracting domestic and foreign buyers to their projects.”

Michael Light, senior vice president of luxury sales in the Coral Gables office of Keller Williams who is serving as the tour group’s guide, told TRD that he was approached nine months ago by the association to help them obtain permission from the developers to visit the sites.

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“I put together the logistics of the tour,” Light said. “I worked with them in selecting the new construction projects they wanted to see.”

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Canadian group

Wednesday’s tour began with a presentation of the selected Miami projects by Light, followed by stops at Gran Paraiso, Aria on the Bay, One Thousand Museum and Paramount Miami. On Thursday, the Canadians will visit Codina Partners’ Downtown Doral, Trump National Doral Miami and Lennar Landmark. The tour concludes on Friday with stops at Brickell Flatiron, Brickell City Centre and Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

Bryan Tuckey, Building Industry and Land Development Association president, told TRD that the housing product in Miami is very similar to what is available in Toronto. “Sixty percent of new homes in Toronto are high rise condos,” Tuckey said. “Our mission is to learn how to build innovative product lines.”

Tuckey said Canadian investor interest in Miami remains high, but that the current exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. dollars is causing some buyers to hold off on making a purchase. “Although some people on the tour have already invested in Miami,” he said. “The stronger American housing market is also really attracting a lot of our developers here.”

He noted Canada’s largest home builder, Mattamy Homes, is planning more than 11,000 homes on a 10,000 acre tract near Venice, Florida, on land the company purchased for $86 million last year.