Make us your home page
Instagram

Foreign buyers bullish on Florida housing even if Floridians are not

To the snowbirds of Canada, the sunseekers of Europe and flight capitalists of Latin America, Florida sends you all a great big Thanks! for buying homes here in such abundance.

When it comes to international buyers snapping up housing in the United States, Florida property remains the runaway favorite. The state tallied 26 percent of international sales in the country, says a new National Association of Realtors report for the year ending March 2012.

"Florida has been the fastest-growing destination of choice," states the Profile of International Home Buying Activity 2012. California was second with 11 percent, while Texas and Arizona each had 7 percent, followed by Georgia and New York.

That Florida property has long been popular with foreign buyers is no secret. But with domestic home buyers still wary or financially unable to purchase property right now, the big international appeal of Florida homes is especially important news.

Of course, Florida has an edge.

Canadian snowbirds have deep ties with Florida and remain eager to leverage Canada's strong currency in buying deeply discounted property. (Lately, however, Canada's dollar, known by its nickname the loonie, has been slipping.)

The typical Florida home that sold in 2006 for about $260,000 now sells for less than $140,000.

Europeans like Florida for the sun and proximity. The state is easy to get to by air and many Euro-tourists are familiar with the state via previous visits, especially to the Orlando theme parks. And Latin Americans have long viewed Miami as their home away from home. Not only are South Florida real estate values considered cheap by Latin standards, but Miami has long represented a culturally simpatico destination for "flight capital" — funds invested overseas to avoid home-country restrictions on international money movement.

Most of these kinds of transactions are done in cash.

At a real estate conference held last week at St. Petersburg's Renaissance Vinoy Resort, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez spoke about the recent hyper-glut of empty condo towers across his city's downtown. Now those towers are mostly full, thanks largely to Latin money. Gimenez expects a fresh round of construction and downtown cranes in Miami very shortly, despite news reports citing a slowdown in Brazil's economy.

On the nation's West Coast property market, in contrast, Asians are far and away the dominant international buyers.

To be clear, the NAR report defines international home buyers two ways. The first is the foreign buyer who lives outside the United States and purchases here as an investment or for vacations and visits of less than six months.

The second type of buyer is the recent immigrant or temporary visa holder residing for more than six months in the United States for professional, educational or other reasons.

Combined, the international home buyers generated $82.5 billion in property sales last year (up from $66.4 billion a year earlier), the NAR report says. Canadian buyers were tops with 24 percent of international sales in the United States.

Florida's new motto? Hang in there, loonie.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at trigaux@tampabay.com.

Foreign buyers bullish on Florida housing even if Floridians are not 06/13/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Strategic Property Partners launches website for Water Street Tampa

    Business

    Strategic Property Partners has launched its official website for Water Street Tampa, its 53-acre redevelopment project in downtown Tampa Tuesday.

    Strategic Property Partners on Tuesday announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. [Photos courtesy of SPP]
  2. ReliaQuest CEO Brian Murphy named sole Tampa Bay winner in EY state entrepreneur contest

    Business

    ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy was named one of nine winners statewide and the only one from the Tampa Bay area in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Florida Awards program. Murphy won in the IT security division after starting ReliaQuest in 2007. Five of the nine winners were from the Miami …

    Tampa's ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy was named one of nine winners statewide and the only one from the Tampa Bay area in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Florida Awards program. Murphy won in the IT security division after starting ReliaQuest in 2007.
  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    Former Florida Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their condo in downtown St. Petersburg on the market for $1.5 million. [Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderford]
  4. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]