Sunday, December 17, 2017
Business

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 [email protected]

Comments

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a host and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and they de...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17