Europe’s financial woes ripple to S. Fla. in real estate, trade, tourism, finance and more

(In the past, Florida’s west coast has also gotten its share of European buyers. Perhaps we’ll begin seeing stats supporting a trend like Miami’s in the Tampa Bay area.  – Paul and Debbie)

MIAMI – July 6, 2012 – Europe’s financial woes may be South Florida’s gain – at least when it comes to real estate.

Europeans with extra cash are looking to invest faster in second homes in South Florida before the value of their euro currency drops further, real estate specialists said.

Euro-zone woes are rippling to South Florida in varied ways, raising concerns about trade, tourism, stock markets and even the broader pace of the U.S. economy and global growth.

International buyers from Europe and other regions accounted for about 15 percent of Florida’s real estate sales before the 2007 recession, and they’ve represented the bulk of cash buyers in recent years.

For Europeans with extra cash, now is the time to buy in South Florida, said Senada Adzem, director, Douglas Elliman real estate in Boca Raton, which specializes in high-end homes. Her European business is up this year, especially from U.K. and German buyers purchasing homes worth $5 million and more.

“The euro decline gives them a sense of urgency,” said Peter Zalewski, founder of Miami’s Condo Vultures, which focuses on condos east of Interstate 95. “It forces them to pull the trigger sooner rather than later.”

Many cash buyers from Europe are investing in areas where they figure they can rent out their apartments for a gain. That’s mainly downtown Fort Lauderdale and south, on or near the water, said Zalewski.

Copyright © 2012 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Kathleen Haughney and Doreen Hemlock. Distributed by MCT Information Services.