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Mar

2016 COULD BE A DOWN YEAR FOR SOUTH FLORIDA’S ECONOMY

Philip Spiegelman

Real estate:

Slow sales for multi-million penthouses may spark schadenfreude in locals feeling priced out of the housing market. Miami is one of the least affordable places to buy or rent a home in the U.S. But the cranes and contracts spawned by luxury condo projects do have an upside: they keep an army of construction workers, engineers, architects, lawyers and accountants on the job.

The construction industry alone accounts for more than 113,000 jobs in South Florida.

Real estate brokers aren’t shy about admitting that 2016 will be rough. Foreign buyers have fueled the luxury boom. But a strong dollar is making local real estate tougher for foreigners to afford. And a new federal crackdown on deals done through shell companies could also scare away buyers who want to stay in the shadows — at least until the anti-money laundering initiative expires in August.

“We’re going to see a slowdown [for condos] in 2016 across the board,” said Philip Spiegelman of condo marketing and brokerage firm ISG.

In Miami-Dade and Broward, foreigners spent nearly $6 billion on residential real estate in 2015, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. The majority came from countries where currencies are now struggling against the dollar including Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Canada.

Read Full Article | Published February 3, 2016

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