The cities of Miami and Orlando in the US state of Florida are attracting a surge of mainland Chinese homebuyers because of relatively low prices and a range of higher-end properties, industry sources say. Miami, a subtropical coastal metropolis in the far southeast of the US, has become the sixth-ranked US city for Chinese buyers this year, up from No 13 in 2016, according to Asian property technology group Juwai IQI Holdings. “Miami wasn’t on the radar of Chinese buyers until recently,” Juwai IQI co-founder and group CEO Kashif Ansari said. Walt Disney World’s Florida hometown Orlando has even higher yields and lower prices than Miami, he said. US market braces for ‘rapid’ rebound of Chinese home purchases in 2022 The top five Chinese homebuyer spots in the United States this year to date are Los Angeles, Seattle, Orlando, Houston and New York City. Florida is a gateway state for immigrants from Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Latin Americans make up the largest group of foreign buyers in Florida, but the number of Chinese had been increasing quickly up to the pandemic, Ansari said. Asian buyers make up 8 per cent of foreign home purchases in Florida and most of them are Chinese. Juwai IQI took 650 queries from Chinese nationals about Miami property in the first quarter of 2022, up from 150 in the final three months of 2021 and 100 in the third quarter. It found a drop in Chinese interest after April 2020, due to restrictions on re-entering China from abroad. Southern Florida secured 10 per cent of all US international sales in 2021, according to data from the Miami Association of Realtors. Both Miami and Orlando are in southern Florida. Foreign buyers acquired around US$5.1 billion in residential properties across the state last year. The association said foreign buyers paid a median price of US$351,800, compared to US$305,500 for local buyers. Both figures are less than half the normal prices of homes in San Francisco and New York City. Florida accounted for 21 per cent of foreign home buying in the US in 2021, according to National Association of Realtors figures. Chinese people, often those who already live in the US, are buying in Florida because it is “undervalued” compared to other US markets, said Monica Venegas, international sales senior vice-president with the Miami-based real estate firm Venegas International. The third generation is demanding Miami. It’s not just the parents, but the generation of young Chinese who are coming south, and their parents are buying property for them Monica Venegas “We see our high-net-worth individuals coming south, not just for vacations, but relocating to stay,” Venegas said. She said Miami was “not on the radar of the Chinese market” in 2006 when she began visiting China to find buyers. Chinese homebuyers who bought property before in New York are shopping in Florida’s US$5 to US$10 million range, she added. “Hong Kong and mainland Chinese buyers typically have invested in the US because of education,” she said. “The third generation is demanding Miami. It’s not just the parents, but the generation of young Chinese who are coming south, and their parents are buying property for them.” See ya, Shanghai? China’s top-tier cities lose out as others lure talent Miami consistently posts “high” global sales, because when one foreign market declines, others step up to take its place, New York-based luxury property design firm Corcoran Sunshine Marketing’s senior managing director Melissa Ziweslin said. “Perhaps that is one reason that this market is attractive to Chinese buyers right now,” she said. The “breadth of product types in the South Florida region” add a draw for foreign buyers, she said. Miami’s waterfront views, “cosmopolitan” lifestyle and new condo developments appeal to Chinese buyers as well, Ansari said. “We expect demand to increase somewhat in 2022 and then to rebound rapidly after China’s travel restrictions are eased. That will make it easier for Chinese buyers to go overseas and release a great deal of pent-up purchasing,” he added.