Worsening global economic outlook, political unrest slow down foreign buyer activity in 2019

According to the latest Profile of International Home Buyers of the Miami Association of Realtors (MIAMI) conducted by MIAMI and the National Association of Realtors, a strong U.S. dollar and a worsening global economic outlook outside of the U.S. slowed South Florida international home sales in 2019, but domestic buyers stepped in as total Miami residential sales and prices increased year-over-year. Despite the decline, foreign buying activity remained strong, particularly when compared to the rest of Florida and the rest of the country.

Foreign homebuyers purchased $6.9 billion of South Florida residential properties in 2019, down 21% from $8.7 billion in 2018. Because the Miami Mega Region is the No. 1 U.S. destination for global consumers and home to diversified foreign homebuyers, the Miami global market did not decline as much as the state and nation. Statewide, international homebuyer dollar volume declined 30% ($22.9 billion to $16 billion). Nationally, global homebuyer dollar volume declined 36% (from $121 billion to $77.9 billion).

The profile surveyed MIAMI members’ international residential transactions from August 2018 to July 2019. The association’s efforts to deal with the COVID-19 situation and stay-at-home orders delayed the study’s release.

“Domestic homebuyers, particularly from tax-burdened Northern states, stepped in last year to insulate the Miami market from any decline in home purchases by international buyers,” MIAMI Chairman of the Board Jorge L. Guerra Jr. said. “South Florida’s foreign homebuyer market share remains more than double the state figure and eight times larger than the U.S., proving once again that Miami is the No. 1 global destination for foreign homebuyers.”

South Florida Registers More than Half of all Florida International Home Sales

Florida is the top U.S. destination for foreign buyers (20% of all sales), according to NAR’s 2019 Profile of International transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate. Florida has been the No. 1 state for foreign home buyers for the last 11 years.

More than half of all international home sales in Florida (53%) happen in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, according to the Florida Realtors 2019 Profile of International Residential Real Estate Activity in Florida. Orlando finished No. 2 with 11%, and Tampa is No. 3 with 7%. One in five of all U.S. international home sales happen in Florida.

South Florida is the top destination for Argentinian, Brazilian, Canadian, Colombian and Venezuelan buying in Florida, according to the Florida Realtors study.

South Florida secures about 10% of all U.S. international home sales.

South Florida Foreign Homebuyer Market Share is Eight Times Larger than the U.S. Figure

South Florida foreign buyers purchases accounted for 38% of total dollar volume and 26% of all South Florida residential properties sold in 2019, according to the MIAMI and NAR report. No other market in the U.S. has those figures.

At 26%, South Florida’s foreign homebuyer market share remains more than double the state figure and eight times larger than the nation. Statewide, the global homebuyer market share of all closed sales is 12%. Nationally, the global homebuyer market share is 3%.

Miami-Dade County Has the Largest Share of South Florida Foreign Buyers Miami-Dade County accounted for the largest share of South Florida’s foreign buyers (77% in 2019; 65% in 2018). Broward County saw a decline in foreign buyers (19.2% in 2019; 31.2% in 2018). Palm Beach County had 1.8%, down from 3.9% in 2018.

The foreign buyer market share in each county in 2019 are: Miami-Dade County (33%), Broward County (16%) and Palm Beach County (12%).

Venezuela and Argentina: The Top Foreign Countries Buying South Florida Real Estate

Venezuela and Argentina are the top foreign countries purchasing South Florida real estate. The 12 top countries of origin for consumers purchasing properties in South Florida are:

1. Venezuela and Argentina (11% of South Florida foreign purchases each)
2. Colombia (10%)
3. Brazil (8%))
4. Canada and Mexico (6% each)
5. Spain, Peru and France (4% each)
6. Chile, Dominican Republic and Ecuador (3% each)

These top tier countries of origin — Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Peru, France, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador– account for 73% of total South Florida international closed sales.

South Florida is home to 22 top-tier global home buying countries, an increase from 21 last year (as Australia joined the list in 2019).

The South Florida market top tier of countries continues: Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Germany, Honduras, Nicaragua, Australia, India and Costa Rica.

South Florida’s foreign buyers hail from more than 50 countries: Bahamas, Panama, Bolivia, Guatemala, Uruguay, Haiti, El Salvador, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Greece, Austria, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa, Israel and Egypt.

Venezuela is the No. 1 Country Buying in Miami-Dade County

The top countries of origin for consumers purchasing properties in Miami-Dade are:

1. Venezuela (17%)
2. Argentina (15%)
3. Brazil (11%)
4. Colombia (10%)
5. Mexico (5%)
6. Canada and Ecuador (4% each)
7. France, Dominican Republic, Peru and Spain (3% each)

Other countries that purchased properties in Miami-Dade included Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Russia, China, El Salvador, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Australia, Bahamas, Germany, Honduras, Israel, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.

Canada is the No. 1 Country Buying in Broward County

The top countries of origin for consumers buying real estate in Broward County are:

1. Canada (22%)
2. Argentina (16%)
3. Colombia (11%)
4. Mexico and Venezuela (4%)
5. Cuba and Dominican Republic (3% each)

Other countries that purchased properties in Broward included Bahamas, China, France, Jamaica, Russia, United Kingdom, Australia, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Turkey.

Canada is the No. 1 Country Buying in Palm Beach County

The top countries of origin for consumers buying real estate in Palm Beach County are:

1. Canada (28%)
2. Colombia (6%)
3. Brazil and France (5%)
4. Argentina, Ecuador, Spain and Venezuela (4% each)

Foreign Home Buyers Spend 33.9% More on Average in South Florida vs. Nation

Foreign home buyers spend significantly more on real estate than other buyers, and South Florida real estate buyers spend a higher median price than other international buyers in the state of Florida or nationally.

MIAMI international home buyers spent a median price of $375,600 for residential properties in 2019. In comparison, foreign buyers of Florida Realtors members had a median price of $288,600 while foreign buyers in the United States spend $280,600.

63% of South Florida International Buyers Paid in Cash

According to the new MIAMI and NAR survey, about 63% of all international residential transactions in South Florida were made in all-cash. In comparison, about 41% of U.S. buyers paid cash.

South Florida international home buyers prefer condominiums (55%) in the central/urban areas (67%), which they intend to use mainly as residential rental, vacation home or both (73%).

Source: World Property Journal