NAR’s 2015 Profile of International Home Buyers in Miami found that from September 2014-August 2015 foreign buyers purchased approximately 10,600 residential properties worth $6.1 billion in the Miami area. Out of the 1,900+ REALTORS® surveyed, international sales accounted for 36 percent of their dollar volume of residential sales. Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Canada accounted for 62 percent of those international sales (units). Most of these people looking to trade their home for one in the US. are cash-buyers, making them a force to be reckoned with. What attracts so many international buyers, mostly from Latin America, to Miami? It is safe to say this is partially due to a culture that is strong influenced by Cuban and Latin American traditions, customs and language, making migration to the U.S. easy for buyers.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 65 percent of the Miami-Dade County population was reported as Hispanic or Latino. Miami is a majority Latino city, and the city’s Hispanic community keeps growing as buyers continue to purchase in Miami. It is no secret that Latin culture is alive and well in Miami. Spanish has become the predominant language, making it easy for Hispanics to conduct business and live. Census data from 2014 indicates that 63.6 percent of Miami-Dade County residents age five or older speak Spanish at home.
A whopping 74 percent of REALTORS® surveyed in Miami are fluent in another language other than English, making the transactional process easier for buyers coming in from Latin America. In 2015, 63 percent of these same REALTORS® reported zero language or cultural problems when working with international clients. These statistics prove that Miami area agents are ready and able to assist Latin American buyers with open arms, and in their language. When you go back to the buying rates mentioned in the beginning, it is clear this is paying off for everyone.
So what can we learn from Miami? If you do not have the time to learn a second language right now (although we would argue it’s worth it to make time), there are numerous tools to help facilitate a smooth transaction and avoid language barriers. There are plenty of apps available on iOS and Android such as iTranslate, which allows you to translate words, phrases and texts in over 80 different languages. And don’t forget about our Find a CIPS search tool, where you can search through a network of over 2,800 CIPS designees across 50 different countries by the language they speak. For more ways to navigate language barriers see this past blog post.
A great way to fine tune your ability to work with multicultural buyers is to get your Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. CIPS courses will teach you about business practices and social behaviors specific to individual countries and cultures. You can also prepare yourself to work with a diverse range of buyers by taking our At Home With Diversity course. This course addresses the topics of diversity, fair housing and business planning development. No matter how you do it, Miami is proof that the easier the transition is for buyers the more likely they are to close the deal. So why not educate yourself and expand your opportunities?
Miami is not the only place in the U.S. where international investors continue to flock. New York and Los Angeles are among the top places where international buyers are showing interest. What do all these cities have in common? -Keep an eye out for the upcoming issue of Global Perspectives where we dive into a conversation about global cities.