MIAMI – Venezuelans, despite their country’s ongoing political and economic crisis, remain in the forefront of real estate purchasing in Miami, especially in the city of Doral, where buyers have been laying out up to $500,000 for new homes.
The booming city of Doral – in the Greater Miami metro area and known as “Doralzuela” for the large number of Venezuelans living there – is presently experiencing an explosion of new home building.
The peak zone for construction of new condominiums in Doral is so-called Midtown, where new condos are being snapped up by Venezuelans eager to shelter some of their money in the US.
“Venezuelans continue to be No. 1 in the Miami real estate market, above all in Doral and in new (construction) projects,” Sandra Benedetti Olivo, the manager of First Service Realty, told EFE on Thursday.
Benedetti said that, although the explosive political and economic situation in Venezuela concerns South Florida real estate experts, “so far the prices of condos and homes in Doral have not been affected.”
In that regard, the Venezuelan professional, with more than 17 years of experience in the sector, focused on one critical point: the state control mechanism for change in the South American country.
Since what she called the “fraud” of the government-sponsored Constituent National Assembly, the members of which are tasked with rewriting the constitution and were elected on July 30, the price of the dollar has risen and on Thursday it is bringing more than 10,000 bolivars on the parallel market, Benedetti said.
In 2016, 17 percent of Latin American buyers of Miami-Dade County real estate came from Venezuela, with Brazilians comprising 15 percent, Argentines 14 percent and Colombians 6 percent, according to the January 2017 report released by the Miami Association of Realtors.
However, so far this year, initial figures coming from that association show that the purchasing of property by Venezuelans has declined by 3 percent, compared with the same period in 2016, Lynda Fernandez told EFE.
The very active role being played by Venezuelans in the Doral real estate sector contrasts with the growing arrivals of citizens from that country who find themselves in precarious economic circumstances as they flee the Nicolas Maduro regime and the turmoil in their home country.
Patricia Andrade, president of the Venezuela Awareness human rights organization, says that two types of Venezuelans are coming to Miami: “Those who have been able to plan their departure and sold their property in time,” that is, those who have a certain amount of money now, and a “new wave” fleeing “repression” who have little capital.
In the first eight months of the year, a daily average of 20-30 Venezuelan families have been coming to Andrade and to her Raices Venezolanas organization seeking help to get by and find lodging, particularly in Miami-Dade County.
This is a “humanitarian crisis” situation that “nobody is seeing,” with couples with children as the “victims of repression ... (who are) arriving” in great need and are trying to accommodate themselves by sharing apartments with others.
According to various sources, over the past two years, some 23,000 Venezuelans have requested political asylum in the US.