Venezuelans accounted for 16 percent of the international purchases in Miami in 2012, the largest group of foreign buyers in the city, according to the Florida Association of Realtors’ annual international home buyer study.
Many of those buyers were fleeing the Chavez regime, either for political or economic reasons. Now that Chavez is gone, the incentive to buy in Miami may disappear.
“Venezuelans may be sitting on the sidelines for the foreseeable future,” said Peter Zalewski, a principal with Condo Vultures, a Miami-based real estate consultancy. “From an investment perspective, [Chavez's death] raises optimism that they can go back to Venezuela.”
Venezuelans were a “silver bullet” for Miami’s property recovery, Mr. Zalewski said. Thousands immigrated to South Florida; others saw property as a relatively safe investment.
In the wake of Chavez’s death, “there might be a little bit of slowdown in activity,” especially among immigrants, said Miami realtor Valeria Grunbaum, who specializes in international buyers. But Venezuela investors looking for stability and an attractive currency exchange rate will still find Miami attractive, she says.
“It might change the political situation, but it won’t change the economic situation,” Ms. Grunbaum said. “Chavez was one of the factors [leading Venezuelans to Miami], but I don’t think it was a major one.”
Miami is not the only market affected. Overall, Venezuela accounted for 7 percent of international buyers in Florida in 2012, the third largest group of foreign buyers behind Canada and Brazil.
By Kevin Brass, World Property Channel on March 6, 2013 4:18 PM
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