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COLOMBIANS face a great problem as a nation: to survive a socialist government that seeks to apply economic policies that have led other countries in Latin America to ruin. It is not certain that the coffee-growing country will succumb, that it will become an Argentina, a Cuba or Venezuela, but the concern and the possibility are there, and people with capital and assets are starting to look for destinations where to invest. And the city of Miami seems to be the ideal destination to protect their capital.
In early September, Business Insider reported that a “Colombian buyer just spent over $10 million on 6 Miami condos before they were even built as some South Americans rush to protect their wealth”
The article reads that this Colombian investor, who remained anonymous, acquired these properties in the developing Cipriani Residences building to protect his capital at a time when the Colombian economy is facing a moment of uncertainty after the arrival to power of leftist Gustavo Petro.
According to the report, in 2022, Colombians are looking for property in Miami more than residents of any other country. In fact, it reads that “Colombians have signed more than 20% of the purchase agreements in the 397-unit building,” as stated to Business Insider by the sales director of the building in question, Ana Gomez.
“Miami has established itself as a center of investment in residential real estate for citizens of South American countries seeking to preserve their capital as their countries weather changes in political power — and that’s especially true of people in Colombia and Argentina,” Business Insider explained.
“Miami has long drawn Colombian buyers interested the multicultural community the South Florida city offers, but the National Association of Realtors Miami has seen an uptick in searches for properties on its website from the country, with slightly over 12% of all international searches — the most of any foreign nation — coming from the South American country this year. Argentina follows, with slightly over half as much search volume,” the report continues, highlighting Colombians’ interest in Miami as an investment destination.
In a previous report, published last July, just days after Gustavo Petro won this year’s presidential elections, El American revealed that several Colombian businessmen plan to protect their capital in the United States, specifically in Miami.
“The day Petro won, at night, I gathered the family. We had already anticipated this possibility. That day we decided that we would stop all expansions in Colombia. The following week I was traveling to Miami,” a hotel owner told El American, who at the time, like all the businessmen consulted, requested anonymity for privacy and fear of reprisals.
The fear of Colombian businessmen, and of a large part of the Colombian civil society reflected in the markets, is due to the economic decisions proposed by the current Petro government, which has already promised to increase taxes (which are already quite high in Colombia) and has publicly threatened to expropriate properties.
In fact, a businessman in the cattle sector told El American that he was afraid that his land would be expropriated. “They say they are not going to expropriate, but rather they are going to distribute the non-productive lands. I wonder what official and under what criteria will determine that a land is or is not productive,” he said.
Are there still economic opportunities in Miami for Colombian investors?
Not only Colombians and Latin Americans are seeing Miami as a great possibility to protect their money, in the United States many ordinary citizens, entrepreneurs and even large companies from blue states have decided to leave the tax hells of New York, Chicago or California to embrace the pleasant tax climate of red states like Florida or Texas.
In January of this year, for example, it was revealed that Miami businesswoman and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht listed an oceanfront property in Miami for a record $150 million. Likewise, Ken Griffin’s multinational Citadel LLC, known for its hedge fund services, is preparing a move and mega-expansion from Chicago to Miami.
Sure, these billion-dollar investments may steal the headlines and keep more down-to-earth investors from setting their sights on Miami believing that prices are absurdly high, but the reality is that there are still investment opportunities in the real estate sector that are relatively inexpensive considering the quality-price-location ratio.
Nelson Gonzalez of Berkshire Hathaway HomeService, one of the leading voices in the Florida Real Estate world, explained to The American that a luxury mansion located on a double lot at historic 2055 S Miami Ave is available right now for $6,250,000.
The location of the house is, perhaps, the main attraction of this property. It is located on a transcendental avenue for the city of Miami and also in one of the most important neighborhoods: Brickell. In fact, one of the neighboring properties is the famous “Casa Reposada”, named after one of its previous owners, Vernon Gransden, which has been housing important Miami families for decades and was even bought by former Cuban President Carlos Prio Socarras in the 1950s.
“This is a historic street and the house is in the well-known Brickell neighborhood,” Gonzalez tells The American, who explained that the lot can be divided into 8,500 feet to develop 2 new homes, since the land is 17,000 feet. “This is the point where banks from all over the world including Colombia are located. From here you can walk to work. It has an extremely important location, in the middle of everything, but on a quiet street.”
One of Florida’s main virtues, Gonzalez explains, is that “it is one of the seven states in the country that has no state taxes.”
“In New York, for example, in addition to income taxes, they charge a 14% state tax. Here in Miami, Florida, that doesn’t happen. That’s why a lot of people from blue states are moving here and buying properties.”
In the image, the location of the house mentioned by Nelson Gonzalez and 2055 S Miami Ave.
And what do the authorities say?
From the office of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, they assured El American that “n the past two years, Miami has seen an increase in foreign investments from across all regions of the world, including South America.”
“The influx of capital coming to our city can be credited to our favorable economic and social policies, such as our low tax rates and a free-enterprise approach to the market,” they explained.
The mayor’s office also commented that “Miami continues to be an attractive city for real estate investment. Over the past year, construction activity increased 43%, with more than $14 billion in construction investment. The residential sector saw an increase in investment of $9.85 billion, reflecting that Miami is a destination where real estate investment continues to grow.”
Likewise, when asked about the possibility of investment coming from Colombia, considering the political and economic context of that country, the mayor’s office did not hesitate to open the doors: “We’ve always been a welcoming and safe city for anyone looking to grow their business while seeking to belong to a community that values individual freedom and private enterprise”.
Meanwhile, Lourdes Castillo, co-founder of the Economic Club of Miami, explained to El American that for Colombians a large window of opportunity is opening up in Miami in the real estate business.
As she explained, people from different parts of Latin America and the United States have taken advantage of Miami’s low taxes to find not only freedom, but a refuge for their finances.
For Castillo, Colombians who have the possibility of investing should seriously look to Miami as a sort of sanctuary to protect their assets before it is too late, as there are still many investment opportunities that are waiting to be discovered.
“Miami is a golden opportunity that Colombians should not miss and it is important to let it be known,” Castillo told El American.
Editor’s Note: The quotes featured in this article were originally published in Spanish, then translated to English and edited for publication.
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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