Brazil’s economy is back. And so are the Brazilians—in Miami, that is. The worst economic recession in ages hit Brazil near the end of 2014 and then lasted through two full years of contraction of the nation’s GDP output, finally coming to an end at the beginning of 2017. During this period, Brazilians fell from the top spot on the list of international visitors to Miami. But last year, the turnaround began.
Not only are Brazilians the top source of international visitors to Miami; they are also the top international investors in purchases of real estate in the tri-county (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties). Miami’s realtors are happy, and its tourism industry is happy, too, as Brazilians—known as free spenders and big spenders—are back to shopping and buying as never before.
Two recently released reports—one from the Greater Miami CVB, and another from the Miami Association of Realtors, help to explain why. The CVB’s report on 2018 was awash in good news and economic numbers.
In the list below of international source markets, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina last year accounted for 20 percent of total overnight stays in Miami. (Latin America produced 45 percent the total; South America, 35 percent; and Europe, 31 percent.) Most important, for those who sell to Brazil, is that the country is back in its No. 1 slot, after having fallen from the top during the economic recession that was known to Brazilians simple as La Crise (The Crisis).
Home Buying Binge: That Brazilians own a fair amount of real estate in the Miami area is no secret. A property in Miami can serve as a vacation home, a second home or an investment—as a hedge against those occasions when the Brazilian real falls in value against the U.S. dollar. Whatever the motivation, the Brazilians are “back on top” in the value of real estate acquired. According to a new report from the Miami Association of Realtors, Brazil ranked as the top country buying South Florida homes in 2018.
The same report indicated that, in 2018, international buyers spent $8.7 billion on residential properties in the Tri-County area (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties), up 22.5 percent from $7.1 billion in 2017. Foreign buyers acquired 14,300 homes in 2018.
And for the first time since the association began tallying foreign investment in 2012, Brazil ranked No. 1 in 2018, representing 12 percent of all foreign purchases of homes in the tri-county region last year. Colombia and Venezuela tied for the second spot with 11 percent, each, followed by Argentina and Canada with 8 percent each.
Argentina was No. 1 in 2017, followed by Venezuela, Canada and Colombia. Foreign investment in residential real estate in the tri-county area in 2018 represented 54 percent of all international sales in Florida.
But Wait, There’s More: Not only are Brazilians visiting Miami on holiday or to acquire a piece of real estate, some of them might be coming here for good. Now being promoted to Brazilians is the idea of investing in hotel development as part of the U.S. government’s EB-5 visa program.
(The above ad, in the Portuguese-Spanish seatback magazine Nexos that INBOUND noticed on an American Airlines flight, encourages investment in what appears to be a South Florida hotel. The contact information for those wanting to know more is in the Miami area.)
The EB-5 visa provides a method of obtaining a two-year green card for foreign nationals who invest $1 million in a “new commercial enterprise” in the United States that creates or saves 10 jobs. Or one can invest at least $500,000 in a Targeted Employment area—a high unemployment or rural area) creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family. If the foreign national investor’s petition is approved, the investor and their dependents will be granted conditional permanent residence valid for two years. In recent years, the greatest number of investors in the program have been Chinese citizens.
Perhaps the program might be an incentive for some Brazilian hoping to secure an investment and a nice hotel suite for the future at the same time.
(INBOUND is a service of Connect Travel, which will be at booth 2235 at IPW in Anaheim. Stop by and pay us a visit!)