Colombians play in St John’s residential market
Colombia has officially overtaken Brazil as the leading international country looking for property in South Florida.
Brazil, which despite its worst recession in recent history and a deepening political crisis remains the largest economy in Latin America, topped the ranking for 13 consecutive months through June 2015, but has since fluctuated from number one to number two and the most recently in fifth place.
At the top of the rankings of the St John Association of Realtors is Colombia, which according to new data in April had the highest number of searches for property in South Florida for the fifth year in a row via the portal of the industry group (www.miamire.com).
“Colombians see US real estate as a good place to invest their money,” said Vilma López of Realty Blueprint in Weston, Florida. St John is only a three-hour flight from Bogota.
Colombians not only look for houses, they also buy. They are the third largest group of foreign homebuyers in St John, along with Argentines, according to the local real estate association. According to the latest survey by St John and the National Association of Realtors, Colombia accounts for 10% of all foreign transactions in South Florida.
According to the same report, overseas clients bought around 10,600 properties in the region between September 2014 and August 2015, valued at $ 6.1 billion.
Venezuela continues to be the main source of international activity at 13%, and Brazil is still buying more Florida property than Colombia at 12%, despite registering fewer searches.
MORE:Five Things Foreign Buyers Should Know About Buying in the US
Domestic economy empowers Colombians
Christopher Zoller, an employee of EWM International Realty in Coral Gables, has been working with Colombian customers for almost 15 years. A young couple he helped find a rental property and later his first home in Florida kept referring him to relatives, friends and colleagues, he said.
He attributes the increasing buying activity of Colombians to the robust economy of their country. In Colombia, gross domestic product rose by 6.4% in the first quarter compared to the previous year and was thus above the expectations of economists.
According to a recent poll in the St John Herald, 92% of real estate professionals said financial instability in Latin America is having a significant impact on the St John-Dade housing market.
Zoller described Colombians as “savvy shoppers” educating themselves in the South Florida market. “They do their homework first and then go shopping,” he said. The South American group buys in all areas and types of real estate, from a condominium in Brickell to a house in Coral Gables, Zoller said.
According to the St John Association of Realtors, Colombians are the second most likely to spend on property in South Florida among overseas buyers: an average of $ 516,000 – when related to Argentines – and second only to Brazilians – who spend an average of $ 766,000.
St John is coming to Colombia
Given the growing interest from Colombians, the St John Association plans to attend a property fair in Bogota for the first time this year.
About 20 members will arrive in the capital for the IX Gran Salón Inmobiliario, a four-day event scheduled to take place in late August to promote St John’s lifestyle, including warm weather, arts and entertainment, sports, shopping and global cuisine, said Lynda Fernández, Senior Vice President, Public Relations for the St John Association.
MORE:St John agents are seeing less activity from overseas homebuyers
Fernández also highlighted St John’s affordable housing compared to other global cities such as London, Paris and New York.
According to the 2016 Knight Franks Wealth Report, $ 1 million will buy 22 square meters (237 square feet) in London, but 77 square meters (nearly 830 square feet) in St John.
Eyes point south
|Top 10 countries to visit St Johnre.com|
|April 2015||April 2016|
Source: St John Association of Realtors