Foreign buyers of U.S. properties came back strong over the last two years after a lull through the pandemic. Looking at the southernmost tip of the United States in particular, South Florida’s market has traditionally garnered interest from prospective South American buyers. According to data shared by the Miami Association of REALTORS®, the most global web searches on MiamiRealtors.com in March 2023 came from Colombia.
The full top 10 list of global searches was as follows:
- Colombia: 11.06%
- China: 9.15%
- Argentina: 7.05%
- Venezuela: 6.78%
- Philippines: 4.23%
- Mexico: 4.13%
- New Zealand: 3.63%
- Canada: 3.48%
- Spain: 3.42%
- Brazil: 3.09%
- All other countries: 43.98%
This list presents a wide range of countries from different regions of the world, indicating widespread interest in Florida. However, a pattern can still be gleaned: the top five consist of three South American countries and two Southeast Asian countries.
Narrowing the scope of these findings, here were the 10 international cities that produced the most activity on MiamiRealtors.com in March 2023:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Bogotá, Colombia
- Medellín, Colombia
- Barquisimeto, Venezuela
- Caracas, Venezuela
- Cali, Colombia
- Madrid, Spain
- Mexico City, Mexico
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Toronto, Canada
Given international interest predominantly comes from South America, a positive feedback loop is likely at play in the Florida market. As more Latin-American, Spanish-
Rose Sklar, a Coldwell Banker associated agent based in Weston, Florida and founder of the Sklar Team, believes this sense of comfort is indeed what brings South American buyers to Florida:
“I think feel comfortable here; a lot of people speak the language, in particular Miami,” she says. “If you don’t speak Spanish and you’re at a gas station, good luck. I’d say sometimes you go out to restaurants, they’re speaking Spanish not English, the majority of the clientele, especially in luxury marketing, are bilingual or multilingual, it’s very diverse here…They may not go somewhere else where they’re not going to hear their language. You will hear it almost everywhere you go here.”
With such a diverse market, the local real estate professionals must have the right skill set to work with them. Sklar says her team speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese (useful for communicating with Brazilian buyers), and French (doubly useful for European buyers and French-Canadians).
Indeed, some of these international settlers have joined the professional side of real estate. Bruno Junqueira, another Coldwell Banker agent, is a native of Brazil who settled in Florida and now helps his countrymen do the same; currently, two-thirds of his real estate clients are Brazilian. Junqueira feels that his kinship with his clients is helpful in communicating with them and educating them on the U.S. real estate transaction process.
As for why Brazilians come to Miami, Junqueira agrees that community is important, but he feels there’s another reason, too: the weather. “ a very good winter, the summer will , but at least you’ll have the beach; you’ll have AC everywhere,” says Junqueira.
Monica Steinmuller, a Coldwell Banker agent who works with German-speaking clients, says the Florida weather is just as much a draw for European homebuyers.
“The people that come from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, I feel like they look for being able to be outdoors the whole year, taking advantage of the beaches.”
How has an international interest in Miami correlated with actual closed sales? The home countries of Florida’s greatest number of foreign buyers throughout 2022 were, per Miami Association of REALTORS®:
“Miami is the best city of Brazil, the best city of Venezuela, the best city of Argentina,” says Junqueira.
Junqueira also noted an evolution of his clientele.
He initially worked with many Brazilians seeking second or third homes in Miami but now primarily deals with clients who want permanent residences—especially since many of his previous clients decide to trade their condos in for primary homes.
He also notes that conditions in Brazil play a large role in the cycle of interest: “If the Brazilian economy or politics are really bad, Brazilians want to move out of Brazil.”
While South America remains the top source of Miami’s international real estate buyers, the presence of Canada in these rankings shouldn’t be discounted. Chris Krzemien, president of Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors®, is a Toronto expat–he thus has insights into the experience of Canadians moving to south Florida.
“I spent 17 years living in Toronto, Canada. I sold real estate there and the connections I made poised me to be able to work with Canadian buyers that are looking to relocate to South Florida or just get a little slice of sunshine as a second home…(the weather is) a top priority for them, there’s no real tropical place for Canadians to go.”
Krzemien added that the tastes of international buyers’ have reflected back on the market, especially since many of them are luxury buyers looking for secondary homes.
“(International luxury buyers” certainly changed the climate of intercoastal realty,” he said. “The smaller houses that used to be lining our waterways are now being replaced with massive mansions. A lot of the time they’re coupling lots together to make one.
You take a look at Sunny Isle Beach, I would say the majority of residents in those incredible condominium buildings are international buyers.”
Miami REALTORS® also tracked domestic interest in Florida’s southern markets. Here are the top states and metropolitan areas with the most interest in the region:
Top 10 U.S. States Searching MiamiRealtors.com in December 2022
- North Carolina
- New York
Top 10 U.S. Metros Searching MiamiRealtors.com in December 2022
- Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia
- New York City
- Washington D.C.
- Los Angeles
- Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Asheville-Anderson, South Carolina
- Charlotte, North Carolina
When discussing her domestic clients, Sklar’s list tracks similar to Miami REALTORS®: California, Seattle, Texas, Chicago, New York, Boston, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Whether you need to plan a flight or just take a road trip, Miami and its adjacent real estate markets are fertile, diverse ground attracting various interested buyers from here and abroad.