Why Miami Is Becoming the ‘Russian Riviera’

Essentially, real estate brokers are letting in the Russian mob — not Russians simply wanting to ‘escape the cold.’ Today, most (if not all) of the rich Russians are part of the communist oligarchy. If you’re not part of the team, then you’re one of the serfs with no future prospects. Real estate brokers today are motivated by both greed and an easy sell to countrymen awash in oil & gas revenue as well as a fractured American economy that has Americans selling their homes or losing them. They essentially have no clue who or what they are letting in.

On a recent afternoon, Miami real-estate agent Jill Eber is taking a Russian millionaire on a mansion-shopping trip.

“This is the Versace Room,” Eber says, walking into a vast living room of blue velvet sofas and gold French Imperial lamps. “It really makes a statement.”

The mansion, “Castello del Sole,” sits on an exclusive island on Miami Beach and has eight bedrooms, nine baths and a three-story foyer with fresco ceilings. The grounds include two yacht docks, a tennis court, guest villas, a five-car garage and a lagoon-style pool with over 100,000 gallons of water.

The asking price: $37 million.

“When it comes to the big properties, I would say the Russians are first,” said Eber, who together with her partner Jilll Hertzberg sold the Indian Creek property and several of the other highest profile deals. Their agency, called “The Jills,” has sold more than $340 million worth of property this year – already far ahead of 2011.

“Miami is one of the most beautiful locations in the world to have a first, second, third, or fourth home,” Eber said. “I think a lot of people right now put their dollars into hard assets, and real estate here, I think, compares well to everywhere else in the world.”

Yet rich Russians have a particular attraction to the largest Miami mansions and condos. The weather is a welcome escape from Moscow winters. Russian millionaires and billionaires are also obsessed with security and protection, which they can easily find in Miami’s large collection of gated communities, private islands with private police forces and protected condo towers.

“The Russians are paranoid about security,” said Jorge Uribe, of Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami. “They can have a lot of security here.”

Full article: Why Miami Is Becoming the ‘Russian Riviera’ (CNBC)

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