Florida Realtor April 2010 : Page 14

INTERNATIONAL MARKET TRENDS U.K. buyers (46.8 percent) Latin Amer-ican buyers (45.0 percent) and Cana-dian buyers (35.4 percent). “With its beaches, theme parks and overall lifestyle, Florida is a coveted des-tination for foreign buyers,” says Carla Rayman, director of international busi-ness development, Prudential Palms Realty, Sarasota. “Our properties are nice investments [for them] as well.” A Favored Destination Through the ups and downs of the global economy, Florida remains a fa-vored destination for foreign buyers, according to John Tuccillo, president, Tuccillo and Associates (JTA), Arling-ton, Va., and former NAR chief econo-mist. “Florida’s natural beauty, climate and the water make this an ideal spot for a vacation,” he says. Cowie notes that unlike many warm-weather destinations, Florida is easily accessible, with direct flights from major cities in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Latin America. “The U.S. Homeland Security program, despite its flaws, is working,” he adds. “Be-cause global terrorism is undoubtedly a factor for many people planning to buy an overseas home, that is a positive factor for Florida.” Another attraction is the state’s contributors According to the NAR study, nationwide, the majority of international customers came from Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, India and China. Single-family homes accounted for 69 percent of foreign purchases and condominiums for 18 percent. diversity in cultures, languages and lifestyles, says Terri Bersach, managing broker, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Weston. “South Florida contin-ues to be desired by many [buyers from] international markets,” she says. “Many foreign buyers like to settle in enclaves— areas where their countrymen have already established themselves.” For example, Doral, a city just west of Miami International Airport, attracts many Venezuelans, while Sunny Isles Beach to the east includes a sizable Russian community. Elsewhere in the state, Naples appeals to buyers from Ger-many and Scandinavia, Daytona Beach is the winter home of many French Cana-dians, and the Kissimmee area attracts Puerto Ricans as well as Brits and other Europeans. Tuccillo notes that another reason for Florida’s popularity is that home prices have come down considerably in the past few years. The state’s prices—already a bargain by European standards—are enhanced by the weakness of the dollar against other major currencies, includ-ing the euro and the British pound. “That has the effect of further reducing the cost of U.S. real estate,” he says. The NAR study took a close look at pricing and found that foreign buyers purchased more expensive properties, on average, than did U.S. buyers. How-ever, U.S. homes were less expensive than properties in other countries. In May 2009, the average home price in the United States was $218,300 compared with $278,100 in Canada and $237,900 in the United Kingdom. “We’ve seen a small but growing per-centage of our buyers purchasing mul-Destination of Foreign Homebuyers The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area was the most frequently reported location for a home purchased by a foreign buyer in Florida. More than one in four (27 percent) foreign buyers purchased a home in the area, followed by 11 percent who purchased a home in either the Orlando or Sarasota area. Terri Bersach Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Weston Bill Cowie, British Homes Group Florida, Kissimmee Here’s how areas fared: Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Miami Beach Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice Orlando-Kissimmee Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater 8% Cape Coral–Fort Myers 27% 11% 11% 5% 5% 32% John Mike, Prudential Florida WCI Realty, Wellington Carla Rayman Prudential Palms Realty, Sarasota Naples–Marco Island All other areas in Florida Source: NAR/Florida Realtors 2009 “Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida” 14 FLORIDA REALTOR April 2010

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