Real Estate Webinar: Seasonal Snowbirds, The Economy, And Quadro Miami
Haute Residence continued its industry-leading real estate webinar series on the latest in real estate, developments, and more, with “Seasonal Snowbirds.” The dialogue focused on the Winter season visitors that flock every year to South Florida, the current trends in the economy and how they impact the real estate industry, and how Quadro Miami is a prime example of the product the visitors-turned-buyers are looking for as they expand their real estate holdings.
Watch the webinar below.
The panelists were Raimundo Onetto, Principal and CEO Alta Developers; Edgardo Defortuna, CEO of Fortune International Group; and the nationally recognized Dr. J. Antonio Villamil, Founder and Senior Advisor of The Washington Economics Group. They were hosted by Haute Living’s April Donelson.
Highlight quotes from the webinar:
Raimundo Onetto: “Due to the pandemic, we were forced to do things in completely different ways. There was a lot of pressure on real estate, but we were able to come up with new concepts, new ideas, and I think that is going to change how projects are designed in the future… I’m very proud of Quadro Miami. It’s one of the latest condos that we finished last year. We spent more than two years designing it. We hired a famous artist in Chile to bring all of his ideas into the project. We brought the art and connected the Miami Design District with the project. It came out really nice, and sales are doing great. It’s a boutique 12-story building with great views of the Bay, within walking distance to the Design District. Miami Beach is right there and the airport is five minutes away. What we are selling here is a new way of buying a condo in Miami. It’s a concept of ‘own, live, and share.’ You can buy a unit and put it on long or short-term program. Snowbirds can have a unit here, use it for six months, go back home and still make money… We have seen a lot of domestic buyers from New York. They come here with their family and say, ‘I’m going to try this for six months.’ On foreign buyers, they are looking to keep their money safe. We add a little more to that. We offer them a product that they can own a piece of real estate but also use it without paying enormous amounts of expenses over the year… When Miami started opening again, we changed the strategy, focusing more on foreign countries but also starting the idea of reaching out to New York buyers, and I think it’s been very successful.”
Edgardo Defortuna: “South Florida is positioned to be one of the best places in the world and we are lucky to be here and in the real estate business… Quadro Miami is very appealing to the person that is not going to use the unit on a full-time basis. And the flexibility of being able to get an additional unit when people are here makes it very effective… Unlike many foreign developers, Alta Developers started by learning the market. They really got educated and participated in projects, understanding what buyers in South Florida is all about; they put their heart into it and build products for the lifestyle the potential buyer really wants and desires. Quadro Miami is the perfect example for that. They came up with a great location, with a perfect size for units, and a price point that the market is very attracted to, and created a program that you can rent it on a short-term basis. Alta puts attention to detail… In the early days, snowbirds spent a month or two depending on their location. What is happening now and for the last two or three years, since the tax reform of 2018, we have seen an incredible desire and motivation from northeasterners, Californians, and other high-tax states to move to South Florida. The effect that created was very significant, with major players moving to South Florida for the climate and the lifestyle. When they experience what it’s like to live here, they fall in love with it… People want to start vacationing again, and South Florida is perfectly positioned to handle that. We saw that early on during the pandemic of people coming from New York, and they are still here. I see that repeating itself during this Winter season.”
Dr. J. Antonio Villamil: “The overall foreign market has become more established. The seasonality that we saw over the decades of snowbirds has changed completely. With Latin America, Brazil, and Europe coming here to purchase real estate, we have seen a structural change over the last decade towards more inflow of foreign buyers coming in and purchasing real estate. The industry has adapted to it. Its flexibility is also a critical component long-term. In spite of the decline we have seen in the number of visitors to South Florida, the quality and depth have increased significantly… Once a vaccine is deployed effectively, we will be able to see a significant pickup in economic activity through snowbirds and other visitors as this is a key area to invest, especially in real estate… The Snowbird phenomenon has been going on for over 100 years. We get 127 million visitors in Florida every year. A good percentage of that is “sunbirds,” who become full-time residents… People are starting to fly again but very cautiously. We do see more visitors coming into the state in 2021, especially to the South Florida area. We are now a global center for visitors. That creates a cushion in terms of the downturn. Things are beginning to level off; I find that this is a very uncertain period, so reaching buyers virtually, like Edgardo and Raimundo are doing, has become very important… The most important thing for Florida and South Florida real estate is the Federal Reserve’s policy, which is independent of the Executive branch. There, we see the continuation of relatively easy monetary policy. Low interest rates are a key factor.”