Demand for Miami properties from South American buyers continues to subside as the global economic situation changes and exchange rates fluctuate. That's left Miami developers searching for a new hotbed of potential buyers to tap. Sure, they may have begun wooing actual Americans, even some Miamians who already live here, but they still aren't afraid to troll the four corners of the globe for people to buy their condos.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in April, an envoy of Miami realtors and developer representatives traveled 8,000 miles to the Beijing Luxury Property Show with the hopes of tapping the mainland Chinese market. It didn't go so well, but developers are still hopeful.
Among those making the trip: representatives from the Fendi Chateau Residences, Fisher Island's Palazzo Del Sol and Palazzo Del Luna, the Paramount Miami World Center, Brickell Flatiron, realty firm Venegas International Group, and the Miami Association of Realtors. It cost each anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000 to make the trip and set up a booth, the paper estimates. That doesn't include translation services.
So how'd it go? Well, there's this line buried at the bottom of the story: "A few weeks after returning from Beijing and Hong Kong, [Lauren Marks], of Palazzo Del Sol, said she hadn’t heard of any sales as a direct result of Miami developers attending the Beijing expo."
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Developers face plenty of problems while trying to sell their properties to the Chinese. The first 8,000 reasons: the number of miles between China and Miami. Not helping that matter is that there are no direct flights between Miami International Airport and anywhere in China. There are also cultural differences, and some Miamians are having a hard time figuring out to how to best market to the Chinese. Miami representatives also told the Journal that Chinese buyers are not prone to making snap decisions, and often mull over investments before making them. There's also the matter that Chinese are not technically allowed to make more than $50,000 in foreign investments a year, but that regulation may change and is often skirted anyway.
A January article in China Daily also points to the fact that Miami developers think the Chinese need more education and awareness about Miami.
"Before, the Chinese would see Miami as a beach town where people go to retire and hang out, but in the last five years, Miami has made itself into more of a global city with a downtown," Peggy Fucci, CEO of OneWorld Properties, told the paper. "You can find anything in Miami right now, and there's more for the Chinese to do here."
Tapping the market so far has been slow. The Chinese represented only 2 percent of foreign buyers in Miami in 2014. However, that's about double the number from 2013.