I have seen since 2002 an accelerated influx of international investments in these areas. Even in the tough time the US economy is going through, our country is still considered a safe refuge for capital and investment. US real estate continues to attract foreign investors from France, Germany, Holland, the UK, and many other European countries. Asian buyers are less conspicuous, but are seeing more of them lately. Russia n investors are an increasing factor and they have a preference for some specific areas. One of them is Sunny Isles. Some of the reasons:
a) The Beach. For Canadian and Russians, the fascination of the ocean, the sun, and the sand is a never ending joy. For many Floridians, the proximity of the beach as an every- day luxury, has become a habit. We occasionally open our eyes on the infinite luck of walking a few blocks, or driving a few minutes and being able to wet our feet and walk with no shoes on soft sand, enjoy a slice of pizza and a beer on the boardwalk on almost every day of the year. But whoever has endured the long and freezing winter days, the absence of sunshine for weeks and months, the claustrophobia of short days and long nights behind walls, is usually happy just by enjoying the warm rays of a Florida sun, the shorts and T-shirts, the sandals, or a drink on a restaurant deck alongside the waterways. So, we can never ignore the "Beach Factor".
b) The lowest prices since the peaks of 2004 and 2005. Nobody can deny that, in comparison with real estate values in most countries of the developed world, Florida is a bargain. We are not talking Paris or London or Moscow. We are talking about even small town in those countries; even in Canada. And South Florida hasn't lost at all its appeal.
c) To the contrary, more and more entertainment venues, attractions and facilities, are available each year. Multiple centers of interest in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Downtown, alongside the Sunny Isles Beach stretch, the Hollywood Broadwalk, Surfside and Bal Harbour areas, South Beach, Miami Downtown, its Art and Design Districts, you name it. Sports spectacles are of a startling variety. Professional NBA Basket Ball, Hockey. NFL Football, Professional Baseball; Florida is home of famous teams and the daily possibility of assisting to great shows is amazing. Offshore fishing, lake-fishing, canoes on the waterways are another wonderful option. Biking and running on our shaded streets and our many parks. The fashionable areas of Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive in South Beach, as well as Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Boulevard, draw young and older crowds, with their infinite selections of bars, restaurants, night clubs and discotheques. The Latino area of Little Havana is a joy to visit. Well, this is not supposed to be a tourism brochure.
d) The weak almighty dollar. The strength of Euros, Pounds, Canadian Dollars do not inspire a total confidence to their owners. There is always this sense of the "come back of the dollar" sometime in the future. Meanwhile these currencies can be stretched at a maximum by the foreign consumer. And Real Estate is now considered a good investment, compared to Stock Market and Bank deposits.
e) The possibility of an eventual move to this area. Many buyers from the Northern part of the US, Canadians, Latin Americans and Europeans have the dream of being able one day to move to Florida. It is very common for me to hear: "a vacation home for now, maybe a second home later on and, who knows? Perhaps a place to retire one day." And buying the dream while making a good investment is quite a good reason.
f) Sunny Isles is located at the North limit of Dade County and the South of Broward County. This optimal setting allows enjoying both areas with a minimum driving time. Right in the middle between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Airports, very close to the "chic" shopping area of Aventura, with Bal Harbour shops just around the corner.
Sunny Isles has drastically changed during the last decade. From a row of older motels and hotels, the land has been redeveloped in luxurious high-rise buildings alongside the beach and the Intracoastal. Many open- air shopping plazas on the west side of Collins Avenue are home to a multiplicity of bakeries, restaurants, stores, offices, bars and all kind of business venues. This has added to the beach attraction.
Personally, I love walking to some Russian food stores and order some exotic plates at lunch time, or have a fast dinner on an outside table at an Argentine Pizzeria, or enjoy an Italian Ice Cream sitting out on a warm and breezy night.
g) There is a variety of real estate properties for all buyers.
Talk about the more affordable buildings such as Ocean View Condos, the Ocean Reserve, or the Arlen House, the Winston Towers Condos, and the Plaza of the Americas, to the newer construction at the Porto Bellagio, across the street from the ocean, where we can offer very affordable properties.
At the middle range point, let's mention the King David, some of the Oceania buildings, or La Perla Condominiums, which is a brand new building on the beach. Up in values, the Oceania, the Sayan, the Sands Pointe, the Meridien, then the Millenium, the wonderful Pinnacle which has become a landmark with its pretty architecture, the Meridien and the Ocean Point Condo-hotels.
At the top, the Ocean series, with my favorite Ocean Two building, the various Trump Condominium buildings, and I prefer the new built Trump Towers. Acqualina, the Jade Beach and Jade Ocean, and the superb Turnberry Ocean Colony, are perhaps the jewels of the crown. This is just a short mention of the many options available.
If you are still not completely convinced, just talk a walk on Collins between 150 and 190th Street at any time of the year, and let me have your comments.
Henry B. Nathan is a real estate specialist in North Dade County, especially Sunny Isles, Aventura, and North Miami Beach.
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