Wealthy Brazilians snap up Miami Real Estate

By Josh Boak and Jennifer Kay

Facing a teetering economy at home, wealthy Brazilians have been pouring money into what they increasingly see as the safest place to invest: South Florida real estate.

So are Argentinians, Colombians, Mexicans, Venezuelans, French and Turks — almost anyone with money to shelter, a direct flight to Miami and a shaky economy to flee.

Their cash has helped drive the latest twist in Miami’s ever-evolving transformation — from a 19th century rail stop to a tourist-and-retiree hub to a haven for Cuban refugees to now a harbor for global investors. No American skyline has undergone a more drastic face-lift from foreign cash in the past decade: Luxury condo towers and swanky retailers crowd a downtown once marred by empty lots.

And almost no developer expects the demand to stop.

Yet Miamians as a whole have scarcely benefited from the glitz. Wages have actually dropped for Miami workers in the past year. Area unemployment tops the national average. Miami contains the largest share of renters in the country who devote over 30 percent of their pay to housing — the level the government deems burdensome.

“We’re not seeing the benefits of that income being disposed of in the local economy,” said Ned Murray, associate director of Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center. “That impacts local businesses, and we’re losing opportunities to create year-round housing for our workers. They’re moving out.”

But with its glamorous locale and easy access, Miami real estate offers an asset that’s appreciating at a time when other investments have shrunk or turned frighteningly volatile. That’s despite being on a stretch of land prone to natural disasters.

Read more HERE at Sun-sentinel.com

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