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Florida real estate value-for-money for foreigners

11th December 2014 Print

The total value of Florida real estate bought by foreigners has leapt by around a quarter in the last year to $7.97billion – and one of the main reasons is its excellent value-for-money.

Non-resident foreigners spent $7.97billion on Florida condos, townhouses, single family houses, villas and other residential property in the year to June 2014, $1.5billion more than the year before.

Canadians led the way, with 32% of purchases, followed by Western Europe buyers, including those from the UK, France and Germany, at 24%, according to the figures from the National Association of Realtors and Florida Realtors.

Closely behind in the NAR’s newly-published Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2014, came buyers from Latin America/Caribbean at 23%, which was led by investors from Brazil and Venezuela.

Asian buyers made up 10% of foreign real estate investors, but the number of Chinese buyers is growing fast. For instance, leading Florida developer and leading agent Feltrim Group has seen strong demand at its sales events and shows in China.

This year. Chinese buyers were responsible for 6% of Florida overseas property purchases, way ahead of the 1% just a few years ago.

More than three-quarters (76%) of Florida Realtors say their clients found Florida property less expensive than similar property in their home countries.

“The increase in international home buying activity was driven by the continued recovery of the world economy and the affordability of US properties. Both US and Florida residential prices remain affordable to most international homebuyers. In fact, international clients continued to purchase properties that are on the average above the mean price paid by domestic buyers,” says the report.

Around 25% of foreign home buyers in the US purchase property in Florida and international sales made up one in 10 of all Florida’s residential sales, 1% more than last year’s survey.

Orlando-Kissimmee and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater were the most popular destinations, accounting for 11% of international deals in Florida, followed by Miami-Miami Beach at 10% and Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice and Fort Lauderdale on 8%.

The most important factor in choosing Florida was its location, which was chosen by 59% - up 5% on last year, a profitable investment at 22%, down 3%, and a secure investment 14%, down 4%.

The value of the dollar in relation to their own currency is also an important issue for overseas buyers.

More overseas real estate buyers, 39% - up 4%, are looking at suburban property, with cities at 30%, down 4%, resorts at 25%, down 2% and small town or rural areas at 10%, up 2%.

A third of buyers (33%, down 2%) want a vacation home, 24%, down 2%, want a rental property, 18%, down 4%, require both a holiday home and buy-to-let, 6%, up 2%, are looking for a retirement property and 19%, up 6%, don’t know exactly what they want!

The majority (32%) plan to use their home for 3-6 months a year, followed by 20% who don’t know, 18% more than six months. 16% less than a month and 15% from one or two months.

Just under half, 45%, down 2%, want a detached single family home, 38%, up 4%, are looking for a condo or apartment and 9%, down 2%, a townhouse. Commercial and other property made up the rest.

More than one in eight (82%) Florida real estate sales to foreigners are all-cash transactions. There are 14% of buyers who obtain finance in the US and just 1% who use a lender in the buyer’s home country.