Cash-rich Venezuelans help resuscitate Miami real estate

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By Kevin Gray
Many Venezuelans have long had a love affair with Miami, but rarely has it been so intense – as least judging by the property market. The cash-rich South Americans are leading a charge into Miami real estate, helping to spur a recovery in a market that once stood as a poster child of America’s housing bust. Enticed by what they view as cheap real estate prices and paying in cash, Venezuelan buyers have snapped up condominiums, apartments and houses as investments or second homes. They are joined by other South Americans cashing in on recent heady economic growth in their region, which also weathered the global downturn fairly well. Wealthy Venezuelans, faced with dwindling investment opportunities back home and worried about what they describe as a crackdown on the country’s domestic housing market by leftist President Hugo Chavez, have become sought-after clients for real estate developers and brokers.”They pull out their checkbooks right away,” said Harvey Hernandez, a Venezuelan-born managing director of the Newgard Group, which is developing BrickellHouse, one of the first condo towers scheduled to be built since the real estate crash.

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