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Miami’s property boom makes the French dreaming

Le Figaro Magazine – Edition 12 December 2014

The city is in full transformation. Far from the cliché of destination for retirees and tourists, it is increasingly attracting South American capital, New York hedge funds and luxury brands.

Those who have invested in the most Latin big city in the United States rub their hands. Prices have jumped 12.5% ​​in one year. However, Florida was one of the states hardest hit by the housing crisis. Today, the strength of the US economy (3.9% growth in the third quarter) is boosting the market and construction. “We sold the first tower of our Paraiso Bay program in Biscayne in three months” said Carlos F. Rosso, president of the American developer Related. “We already have customers on the waiting list to invest in the second tower, which is about to be released” said Adam Redolfi of Barnes. In the good areas of the metropolitan area, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Miami Beach or the Bay Islands, competition is fierce for a waterfront home. Céline Dion, Enrique Iglesias (a star in Latin America) live there. “A 2.8 hectare property with its mangrove is for sale for $65 million” notes William Pierce at Coldwell Banker. And new neighborhoods are emerging. Everyone has their budget: you can find a charming art deco studio with $250k. With $500k a 2 beds condo. Prices have not returned to their highest levels, they are at the level of 2004. But investing across the Atlantic cannot be improvised. It is particularly important to assess charges and taxation (the property tax weighs almost 2% of the price). Many sites advertise goods with attractive yields, sometimes too much. “Be careful not to be trapped by buying goods that are impossible to resell” warns a professional.

Settling in the USA, a good deal

Sylvain Bignon is the proud owner of the Green Street Café in Miami. “I came here twenty years ago. I went bankrupted, I started over again from scratch working in a sandwich shop and I created this cafe, then a second one. Today, it represents $15 million in sales” he explains. While in France the 35-hour week is debating, he says he’s fighting for his employees not to work too much. Too good to be true? The American dream does not always end well, but it does exist. London and Asia are not the only places on the planet that attract French people who want to do business. “Here you have to work, but everything is possible. A third of our clientele is made up of French people aged 40 to 50 who want to start their business in Florida” says Thibault de Saint Vincent, President of Barnes, who knows the region well.

Immigration policy is pragmatic. “The best way to become a U.S. resident is to invest in the United States by buying or developing a business and creating jobs” said Nicolas Billaud, who has just left Neuilly to start a new life at Barnes. Today, he is selecting companies in which French people who want to start their lives in Florida could invest.

“Miami is no longer just a tourist destination, it also attracts health and finance companies, thanks to a much softer tax system than New York. By moving, a hedge fund manager saves income tax and then have what to afford for a house” says Elisabeth Gazay of Barnes. A district of former warehouses is now the new Design District, where luxury and design will mix. This is a symbol of the new local tempo and a hymn to architecture. In this district, developer Craig Robins is betting on a horizontal European city where we can walk, while in Miami which is a vertical city, the car remains queen.

Source : Le Figaro Magazine