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South Florida’s World-Renowned Multiculturalism Fueling Home Sales; Miami Realtors Presented State of the Market event

Edgardo Defortuna, Fortune International Realty president and CEO
Edgardo Defortuna, Fortune International Realty president and CEO

South Florida’s unparalleled ability to attract international home buyers and world-class global developers continues to boost the local economy, lift home sales and spur state-of-the-art commercial development, multiple local market experts said during a recent MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) event.

Of the 500,000 new residents who moved to the Miami, Broward, Palm Beach metro area over the last five years, about 65 percent (335,000) came from other countries, according to new U.S. Census data. South Florida boasts the highest-in-the-nation share of foreign home sales ($6.1 billion in total sales volume in 2015) and unprecedented international allure (South Florida is the most searched U.S. destination by international consumers on

“The world is in love with Miami,” Fortune International Realty President Edgardo Defortuna said at the recent Real State of the Miami Market event at the Biltmore Hotel.

Foreign Home Buyers Boosting Miami Real Estate
Despite a strong U.S. dollar and economic instability worldwide, international residents continue investing in South Florida residential properties. Foreign real estate buyers accounted for 36 percent or $6.1 billion of total sales volume, according to the 2015 Profile of International Home Buyers in Miami Association of Realtors Business Areas, conducted by the 42,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Florida remains the top state for international buyers with 21 percent of all foreign purchases in the United States, according to NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buying Activity of International Clients. In Florida, Miami and Fort Lauderdale account for 50 percent of foreign sales, according to the 2015 Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida.

Miami Attracting An Unprecedented Number of Nationalities
Thirty-six different countries are represented among the buyer pool at Aria on the Bay, a 53-story residential tower on Bayshore Dr. being, Cervera Real Estate Managing Partner Alicia Cervera Lamadrid said during the recent MIAMI event.

“Miami has always been international, but 36 countries represented in one building is amazing,” Cervera Lamadrid said.

Aria on the Bay is not alone in its international allure. Twenty-three different nationalities, for instance, have purchased preconstruction condo units at Jade Signature, a 57-story Sunny Isles Beach tower, Defortuna said during the MIAMI event.

Miami Embraces All Cultures
Unlike any other part of the world, Miami welcomes all nationalities and languages.

In Florida, Miami and Fort Lauderdale account for 50 percent of foreign sales, according to the 2015 Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida. Foreign real estate buyers accounted for 36 percent or $6.1 billion of total sales volume in South Florida, according to the 2015 Profile of International Home Buyers in Miami Association of Realtors Business Areas

Miami is the most international city in the United States. About 51.3 percent of Miami residents are foreign born, according to the U.S. Census. Miami’s concentration of foreign-born residents is more than double the national average of 19.4 percent.

Students at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth largest school district in the U.S. with 345,000 students, speak 56 different languages and represent over 160 countries.

Art, Culture, Transit Attracting Residents
Miami’s cultural and art institutions are also influencing the region’s population growth. Miami Beach’s Art Basel show draws the world’s top collectors, and the Wynwood neighborhood has gained national and global attention for its trendy local art.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the waterfront Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) opened recently in Downtown Miami. The $305 million Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science adjacent to PAMM will open later this year.

Greater Downtown Miami has seen a 99.6-percent population increase since 2000, growing from 40,466 to 80,750 residents. Brickell — which is the core of Miami’s banking, investment and financial centers — has seen the largest increase in downtown, growing from 12,904 residents in 2000 to 32,489, according to the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

Downtown’s public transit, cultural institutions and growing population are encouraging many of these developments. Miami’s Metrorail Orange Line now takes travelers from the airport to downtown. Also, All Aboard Florida is building a new rail service, which will run 30-plus trains a day to Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach by 2017.

Americans Relocating to South Florida
South Florida’s tax environment (no state income tax in Florida), growing tech industry and infrastructure improvements are leading more Americans to relocate to Miami. About 22,000 New Yorkers, for instance, migrated to Miami between 2009 and 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The trend of Americans moving to Miami is going to continue,” Cervera Lamadrid said. “When our kids were growing up, I think we were all worried they would leave and not come back. Now, they are coming back. Their friends are coming back and their friends’ friends are coming back. Miami is where the jobs are. This is where the opportunity is. This is the tip of the arrow.”

The number of employed Miami-Dade County residents increased 2 percent, growing from 2.13 million residents in 2013 to 2.18 million in 2014. The percentage of Miami-Dade residents earning more than $75,000 a year increased 4.1 percent in the same time period.

The local population is also getting more educated, a key factor in a growing economy. The share of Miami-Dade residents with graduate degrees increased 7.5 percent from 2013 to 2014. The population has seen a 12 to 17 percent growth in associate, bachelor and graduate degrees.

“Miami is a new city,” Cervera Lamadrid said. “It’s a clean city. It’s a dynamic city. It’s a city that represents the world. And that point is increasing astronomically as the depth of our culture and the history of our city starts to mature and reach another level.”

About the MIAMI Association of REALTORS®
The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating 96 years of service to Realtors, the buying and selling public, and the communities in South Florida. Comprised of six organizations, the Residential Association, the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the Broward Council, the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS) Council, the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Council and the award-winning International Council, it represents more than 42,000 real estate professionals in all aspects of real estate sales, marketing, and brokerage. It is the largest local Realtor association in the U.S., and has official partnerships with 136 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is


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