Although Venezuela may not be the first country that you think of when you hear the term “foreign investors,” for Miami, Florida, Venezuela has been helping build a real estate boom since the late 1990s. Wealthy Venezuelans have been buying real estate in Miami “in earnest” since Hugo Chavez started running the country in 1998, and lately they are buying more Miami real estate than citizens of any other nation in the world.Local real estate investor Matthew Martinez even joked that Chavez should be named “Salesman of the Year” as wealthy Venezuelans flocked to buy in Miami and hopefully protect their assets by investing them in America. After Chavez’ death, some real estate professionals feared that Venezuelan investors would opt to stick closer to home, but a local economy that caters to Venezuelans and fears about other potential tyrants still in political office in that country have kept investors interested and active in South Florida. “The Venezuelan market has always been investing in the U.S….and they are going to keep investing and coming back and forth,” said Rafael Saldaña, president of Banesco Group bank in the U.S.
During the first quarter of 2013 alone, Miami home sales have climbed by 10.3 percent, and over the past 12 months prices have risen by 23 percent. Some analysts believe that the international aspect of Miami’s burgeoning housing market could help insulate the city from a potentially problematic bubble such as many industry experts are starting to say could develop in rapidly-recovering, hard-hit cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Do you think that international interest is enough of a bubble safeguard?
by Carole Van Sickle