By: Ismael Rodriguez

In Miami, a spacious city that serves as a real estate playground for foreign buyers, an unfamiliar newcomer has worked itself up the ranks to snatch the number seven spot on a list that usually features countries such as Colombia, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and France.

The Miami Association of Realtors recently published its January 2017 report, featuring Turkey among the top 10 foreign countries that use its website to search for Miami real estate. But most importantly, the report marked the first time a Middle Eastern country was included in the top 10, according to Farid Moussallem, director of international sales at Compass, a Miami-based real estate agency.

Moussallem also noticed a rise in both residential and commercial investment from Middle Eastern buyers in recent years. And his keen observation can be backed by a CBRE Capital Markets report released last September, showing that commercial investment in Miami from the Middle East totaled $517 million between January and June 2016.

Most of these buyers, according to Moussallem, come to Miami in search of either a few months of leisure, investment in commercial or residential projects, or an education from well-known universities like the University of Miami, which eventually becomes a gateway for other family members to migrate to South Florida.

These buyers are, typically, wealthy Middle Eastern families that leave their homes because of political and economical turmoil. They usually aim for places like London and New York, where the Arab community has a strong presence. But Miami has recently appealed to these buyers, drawing them in with its world-renowned luxury hotels, restaurants, architecture, retail and multicultural offerings.