Great piece in the Miami Herald today about how Brazilians are invading Florida and “snapping up beachfront luxury properties and downtown Miami condos, investing in everything from real estate to Burger King, and shopping voraciously.”

The story says Brazilians spent more than $1 billion in Miami-Dade county alone in 2010 and will overtake Canadians as the foreigners most seen in Florida, which is a major deal.

The reasons are obvious. Brazilians have money.

The real is hugely overvalued and so everything in the US is cheap compared to back home in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as I  pointed out in this recent post.

The Herald piece, written by the always excellent Mimi Whitefield, plays up the spending spree and notes:

“As shoppers they (Brazilians) are extremely brand-conscious, loading down their carts with Nike, Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger plus high fashion, televisions, video games, and the latest technology.”

The economic reality is such that it is now cheaper for Brazilians to buy property in the US than in Brazil.

“Edgardo Defortuna, president and chief executive of Fortune International, says, for example, that an apartment equivalent to a three-bedroom unit at Jade Ocean in Sunny Isles Beach that goes for $1.6 million might cost $2.5 million in Belo Horizonte, a state capital in southeastern Brazil.”

Today, Brazil is Florida’s top trading partner, with business between the two rising to $14.4 billion in the 11 months to November last year, a 27 percent increase over 2009 figures.