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TOUCHING DOWN IN THE US, MIAMI TO CHICAGO

27 February 2015

Investment Manager Scott Hagerman shares his thoughts on his most recent trip to the US

Miami 

I am absolutely floored by how much hotter the market is than it was just 12 months ago. Rather than depress the appetite of foreign buyers - mainly from South America and Europe - the strengthening dollar has only seemed to accelerate it. 

The general sentiment being reported by our contacts here in Miami is that foreign buyers seem to think that the dollar will only continue to get stronger and are thus making plans to move up their purchasing timelines to avoid being affected by further weakening of their home currencies. The fact that many of our clients are in USD-pegged currencies gives them a huge advantage over many others trying to get a foothold in this market. 

This surge in demand by foreigner buyers in the condo space has also had a big effect on the rental market, with many local residents choosing to continue to rent rather than compete with cash-rich foreign buyers. One of Miami's biggest brokers has reported that rental units in prime buildings in Brickell are being tenanted in a week at most, and sometimes in as little as 48 hours. 

I also took some time while in Miami to inspect Nine at Mary Brickell Village, IP Global’s first condo investment opportunity in the city. The development is nearing completion and is very much on schedule to hit the revised completion timeline. We inspected every single one of our clients' units, and they really look great. The ceiling heights and oversized windows really made an impression and, even on a very overcast day, the units were really bright and airy. The amenity deck is also about 90% completed, with just some minor landscaping work left to be finished. 

The most important takeaway however is how much of a head start this property has over the other developments in Brickell, all of which are at least a year to 18 months off completion. We’re really confident that these units will be tenanted very quickly as a result of the fact that this is the first new building to complete in Brickell during the current cycle. The value of the units will appreciate as Swire's Brickell City Center's office and retail components near completion toward the end of this year, meaning the amount of shopping and dining destinations within walking distance of this property will more than double when that comes online. 

There are only a handful of unsold units left in this development, so if you are interested in this property investment opportunity, please get in touch with one of our consultants to find out more details. 

Chicago 

Even in the middle of a harsh Midwestern winter, I always love visiting Chicago. I am always struck by the fact that Chicago has all the business and cultural buzz of any other major US city, but the prices for prime property here are just a fraction of what they are in major coastal cities. One of my first meetings in Chicago was with our partners at CMK Companies, developer of 235 West Van Burenand our just-launched project in the South Loop - 1345 Wabash

Because the building is still in the construction phase, I threw on a hard hat and inspected parts of the building with the developer and project manager. I have to say, even a few months off completion, the building looks great; the modern style of architecture and design CMK is known for really makes the development stand out in the area. The building itself also has great views, and from the higher floors you can see the lake, Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears sports team), The Loop, and parts of Grant Park. 

And while the South Loop is still a somewhat young residential neighborhood it’s matured a lot since the first time I visited three years ago. There are a lot of new restaurants and bars within a 5 minute walk from the property as well as a grocery store, pharmacy, dry cleaners and a few more retail outlets that make the area really liveable, all of which are located less than 10 minutes away on foot.

The vibe here is definitely a lot different from that of other hot Chicago neighborhoods like Logan Square, but both areas have a buzz to them. While Logan Square is a bit more hip, the South Loop strikes me as a lot more white collar professional and upwardly mobile, with junior bankers and fresh-out-of-business-school types. This is definitely a neighborhood with a lot of appreciation potential, so property investors should keep a close eye on it. 

If you are interested in this future investment opportunity and the Chicago property market, please get in contact with one of our consultants to learn more details.

IP Global

Written by IP Global

IP Global’s full-service approach is built on extensive market research and analysis combined with a significant financial commitment to every investment we offer. We are able to manage the entire investment process end-to-end, from sourcing, financing, and management to those all important exit strategies, making investment in real estate as straightforward as investing in more traditional asset classes. Our expertise, experience and strong record have produced over USD2.8 billion in international real estate investments in over 30 markets worldwide.

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