The British are Coming… So are the Venezuelans, Brazilians, Canadians, French and more

Melissa Rubin, Real Estate Council Chair
Melissa Rubin, Real Estate Council Chair

The swirl of speculation continues around the South Florida real estate market, yet after a few down years, local agents and other industry professionals are finally optimistic that this could indeed be the year for a market upswing. The key to this resurgence? Foreign nationals.

The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Real Estate Council will host in conjunction with the Miami Association of Realtors a luncheon seminar focusing on “What You Need to Know” about foreign real estate investing. Designed to educate and elevate the local real estate community, the annual event carefully selects a distinguished panel of speakers that includes brokers, mortgage lenders, lawyers and an array of other experts to cover every facet of the real estate transaction. The event takes place at the W South Beach hotel, which also contains an upscale residential component.

While certainly not a new market South Florida, foreign nationals are an increasingly growing market for the region. According to a report by the Miami Board of Realtors, 31% of 2011 US real estate transactions placed by foreigners to date are within the state of Florida, up 9% from last year.

Melissa Rubin, Vice President of Platinum Properties International boutique real estate firm and Co-Founder and Chair of the Chamber Real Estate Council, believes these statistics are very promising for the real estate outlook.

“A year ago, we were struggling. Our luncheon event was aimed at helping agents uncover any and every opportunity they could within the grim realities we were experiencing,” she says. “Now, we’re educating them on how to best serve a booming market.”

Since the real estate crash in 2008, there has been much contention over when property prices will finally bottom out. Rubin notes that many of her buyers, including her international clientele, have remained crouched on the sidelines for the past few years, waiting for the ideal time to capture the best prices. It appears they are now ready to buy.

Venezuela leads the buying frenzy with 28% of total foreign national sales in Florida, followed by Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, France and Mexico. Rubin attributes this to a variety of factors including strong dollars, such as what Brazil is experiencing; political uncertainty, as seen with many Venezuelans wanting to take their money out of the country; and better pricing and weather, spurring Canadians and other cold-weathered residents to invest in a South Florida hotspot.

The educational luncheon will discuss additional trends and provide tips on how to capture and understand this very important demographic. In the meantime, Rubin cites her age-old tactic proven to work in any economic environment.

“More than 50% of my sales are done through existing clients,” she says. “Foreign nationals have always been a key market, and I don’t see this changing. Success lies in the ability to reach these buyers and then create life-long relationships.”

The “What You Need to Know” about foreign national investing seminar takes place 11:00am – 2:00pm at the W South Beach. To reserve a space or for more information, contact Susana Penaranda at or visit

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