For many years, South Florida real estate has attracted wealthy buyers, primarily from Canada, Europe, and Latin America. However due to a strong U.S. dollar and weak foreign currencies from these areas, the pace has slowed. Now, buyers from countries such as Turkey and China are considering and investing in our market.
In the past two years, the number of Turkish buyers has continually increased in South Florida. Typically, affluent Turkish people owning second or third homes focused on the South of France, London, or seaside resorts in Turkey. Because of turmoil in Europe and Turkey, many Turkish people are now viewing the U.S. as a more stable investment. Also, luxury condos in South Florida are more affordable than similarly exclusive areas in some parts of Turkey or Europe. Turkish buyers are also attracted by the EB-5 visa program, whereby an investment of at least $500,000 and job creation affords foreign buyers permanent U.S. residency. To further increase interest in South Florida, Turkish Airlines now operates a daily flight from Istanbul to Miami and a new Turkish consulate has opened in Miami.
Chinese buyers looking to diversify their real estate investments have also shown an interest in South Florida. The EB-5 visa program has also been a lure for Chinese buyers. The Miami Association of Realtors has partnered with Juwai, China’s number one real estate website for international property searches. Juwai’s main searches are by wealthy Chinese buyers residing in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. According to the Miami Association of Realtors, Chinese buyers accounted for 2% of residential purchases in South Florida in 2015 up from 1% in 2012 and continued growth is expected for 2016. This increased interest in South Florida real estate from Chinese and Turkish buyers will help offset some of the decreased demand from Latin America, Europe and Canada.