JTHS Council of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS - Jupiter, Tequesta, Hope Sound



China: A Fast-Growing Segment of South Florida Foreign Buyers

by | Sep 20, 2017

Chinese buyers have increased their South Florida residential property purchases from 1 percent of international sales in 2012 to 3 percent in 2016, according to the 2016 Profile of International Homebuyers of MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) Members. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) conducts the annual profile for MIAMI.

Three percent of international sales is an impressive figure considering South Florida foreign real estate buyers accounted for $6.2 billion of total sales volume in 2016. A 3 percent international sales figure for Miami is higher than most U.S. states have in total international sales.

Greater Miami’s diversified economy, clean air, award-winning schools, stellar universities, international banking system, infrastructure improvements, name-brand shopping, port expansion and proximity to emerging markets are encouraging major Asian investment. 

Miami: Top Destination for Chinese Buyers in Florida

The Miami-Miami Beach metro area ranked as the top destination for Chinese buyers in Florida, according to NAR’s 2015 Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida. About 42 percent of all Chinese buyers purchased in Miami-Miami Beach, the total is 15 percentage points higher than the second-most purchased location (Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice.)

The Asian-born population in Miami-Dade County increased 10.5 percent from 2010 to 2014, growing from 34,251 to 37,853, according to 2014 U.S. Census population estimates. Asian-born residents accounted for 2.8 percent of the Miami-Dade County population, according to 2014 U.S. Census population estimates. About 19.6 percent of Miami’s Asian residents, or 7,425, identified as Chinese.

South Florida Educational Institutions Attracting Chinese Interest 
Miami’s Florida International University, the first U.S. university to establish campuses in China more than a decade ago, has about 5,000 Chinese students in Miami. The parents of these students purchase property for their children and for investment purposes.

FIU has a partnership with the Tianjin University of Commerce in Tianjin, China. Each year, more than 1,000 FIU students study hospitality and tourism management while learning about the Chinese culture in China. The Marriott Tianjin China Program began in September 2006 and is FIU’s largest program in China.

The University of Miami has 942 students from China, the most among all foreign countries, according to the school’s 2014 student enrollment figures. Venezuela ranks second with 212 students. The Chinese student population at UM has increased 88.4 percent since 2010-11, when 500 students from China were enrolled.

Chinese students at UM participate in the University of Miami Chinese Students and Scholars Association (UMCSSA), which was founded in 2012. The UMCSSA facilitates the transition of new incoming Chinese students to University of Miami through monthly meetings, the Mid-Autumn Celebration and the Chinese New Year Celebration.

Greater Miami is the nation’s eighth-largest college town (438,000 total students), according to the FIU-Miami Creative City Initiative. More than two-thirds of Miami college students stay in the region after graduating — the 16th best retention rate of the nation’s metros with more than 1 million people.

Miami-to-Asia Direct Flight Could Spur More Investment

Miami-Dade County government officials and local businessmen have been working on securing a Miami-to-Asia direct flight for years.

The main obstacle is finding an aircraft capable of traveling the long distance without refueling. In June 2017, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told Miami International Airport that the 8,628-mile, 17-hour flight was possible. A Tokyo-Miami direct flight is a potential route.

In August 2017, Miami-Dade County Aviation Director Emilio Gonzalez said Miami is two years out from securing a direct flight to Asia. The demand is there. More than 415,000 travelers made connecting flights between Asia and Miami in 2015, which ranked Miami International Airport No. 15 among all U.S. cities with Asian traffic — all without a direct flight.

Asia is a Strong Miami Trade Partner

The most recent figures show that nearly 100,000 tons of cargo flow between Miami International Airport and Asia annually, at a value of $5.2 billion, the airport said.

Miami is in position to increase its international investments, particularly from Chinese buyers. PortMiami, the top-ranked container cargo port in Florida with 900,000 TEUs handled each year, spent $2 billion to deepen its channel from 42-foot depth to 50-52.

PortMiami is the only U.S. port south of Norfolk, Va. that can accommodate new, mega cargo vessels from the expanded Panama Canal.

Miami’s Amenities, Affordability Attract Global Clients

Miami’s global transformation began when Art Basel — one of the largest contemporary-art fairs in the world — chose Miami for its annual American home in 2002. Art Basel Miami Beach annually fields more than $3 billion in art, draws more than 77,000 visitors and attracts more private jets (800) than America’s most-watched sporting event, the Super Bowl.

In the years following Art Basel’s debut, the hip Miami Design District and the Wynwood Art District gained global attention. New cultural institutions such as Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, and the Frost Museum of Science have added to Miami’s global brand.

Miami ranks among the most affordable global cities. A 120-square meter condo in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach cost $149,900 on average, according to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Buying Activity of International Clients. The price for the same condo in London ($960,840), Hong Kong ($776,280), and New York ($1.6 million) were at least five times higher.



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