Miami's Brickell Financial District Attracts Adventurous Renters

The downtown urban sprawl is finally making its way to Miami's Brickell Avenue. Known mainly as the Brickell Financial District, where attorneys, bankers, brokers, accountants and other workers gather for their 9-to-5 and then go home, the area's landscape has been shifting of late and now is a livable area as well.

The long work commute from suburbia to downtown is, well, going out the window and young professionals and even families are welcoming the change.

Edgardo DeFortuna, principal with Fortune International Realty, has been working real estate in the Brickell area for more than two decades and recalls the boom of the 1980s when Latin Americans began snapping up condominiums in the area. It is investors from those same countries who are buying up units in the newer buildings but this time a majority of them are renting to the younger set looking for the entire urban living experience.

"The foreign buyer has always been a player on Brickell and recently, from 2000 to 2008, the situation has multiplied exponentially and there was another boom," DeFortuna says. "Over 50 percent of buyers were Latin American -- at the beginning it was very much Colombians and then it switched to some extent to Argentinians, Venezuelans and Mexicans."

Investors from this part of the world actually never stopped looking at investing in Miami's Brickell corridor, they just stayed away when the prices were too high. But when they started dropping in 2009 they came back and began to buy again. The difference in this landscape, as opposed to back in the 1980s, is that they're buying with cash and DeFortuna says that makes them much more solid buyers. "They are very, very active in this market today and they are taking advantage of these prices and it's a lot better to keep their cash in real estate."