Sam Brannan is a contributing writer from Trulia
The cultural hotbed of South Florida is home to international transplants from all over the world and continues to draw interest from abroad. With an influx of international searches every day on Trulia, the real estate search engine reported South Florida as a hot market for Venezuelan house hunters.
While several Latin American countries show interest in Florida real estate, Trulia’s most recent international house hunters report indicates that Venezuelans contribute the highest share of interest in South Florida.
Venezuela’s interest in Miami real estate racks up a disproportionate amount of Trulia searches for its size — and more than any other country. In fact, Venezuelans search for Miami real estate 22.7 times more than Trulia would expect based on the country’s national search volume.
Unlike Mexico, which shows a lot of interest in Texas, California and Arizona metros, Venezuela’s top five most searched metros were all in the Sunshine State, with a large portion of searches for homes for sale in Miami–Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Jacksonville.
Although searches don’t always translate to actual home purchases, many Latin Americans aren’t just searching, they’re also buying. According to Miami Association of Realtors’ report, South American countries have the highest foreign sales percentage in South Florida. Venezuela accounts for 13 percent of foreign sales, with an average purchase price of $488,000. Brazil, Argentina, Columbia and Venezuela combined for a staggering 45 percent of all foreign South Florida transactions in 2015.
What’s the appeal for International buyers?
Aside from beautiful weather and scenery year-round, South Florida has world-class cultural institutions and a strong multicultural and multilingual population, making it an even stronger candidate for Venezuelans and other Spanish-speaking countries.
While multicultural communities and a large population of Latin American transplants are a big plus for prospective buyers, property rights and the thriving local economy are also likely part of the equation.
Unlike purchasing a home in most Latin American countries, buying a home in the U.S. provides safety on investment with more protection of property rights, because the regulatory bodies of many Latin American countries can’t or don’t provide the same level of protection for homeowners.
The improving job sector is also a big draw for foreign home searchers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the South Florida metropolitan area’s unemployment rate improved by 2.3 percent from 2014 to 2015. The increase in jobs was found in industries like professional business services, leisure and hospitality and construction.
With a healthy jobs sector, the population of South Florida has now surpassed 6 million residents, making it an even bigger target for Latin American buyers.