Canadians make up 39 percent of the international pool of buyers that spent $12.7 billion on residential real estate in Florida in 2010, according to a new report.
Brazil’s growing influence in the market is tied to 8 percent of purchases, according to data from the National Association of Realtors and Florida Realtors. The U.K. and Venezuela tied at 7 percent each, with Germany, France, Argentina, Colombia, Australia, Mexico and Spain driving the balance of buyers.
In 2010, these international buyers generated $3.8 billion in sales in Miami/Miami Beach/Fort Lauderdale market alone, according to NAR.
More than 86 percent of the Florida transactions involving international buyers are being completed in cash.
The NAR report also highlights the fact that investors continue to drive a lot of sales activity. Only 12 percent of the foreign buyers plan to spend more than six months a year in their Florida properties, compared to 16 percent who plan to occupy their places for less than one month a year. A majority – some 56 percent – of the foreign buyers plan to use their properties between two months and six months a year.
For 23 percent of the foreign buyers, Florida real estate is perceived as a “profitable investment,” given the deeply discounted prices, rising rents in coastal markets such as in South Florida, and the weakness of the U.S. dollar, according to the NAR report.
Overall, foreign buyers account for 26 percent of Florida’s $48.8 billion in residential resales. Nationwide, foreign buyers account for only 3 percent of residential real estate transactions, according to the report.
For foreign buyers focused on Florida, the top destination is South Florida.
The Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Miami Beach market represents 30 percent of the estimated $12.7 billion foreign buyers spent on Florida real estate.
The Orlando/Kissimmee market in Central Florida – where Walt Disney World is located – had the second-largest share of foreign buyers in the state, with a 14 percent share, or nearly $1.8 billion in sales.
The Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater market on Florida’s west coast earned the No. 3 ranking, with an 11 percent share, or nearly $1.4 billion of sales.
Rounding out the top 5 markets for foreign transactions are the deeply distressed Southwest Florida markets of Cape Coral/Fort Myers, with an 8 percent share, or $1.02 billion, and Naples/Marco Island, with a 6 percent share that equates to $762 million, according to the NAR report.
The Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Miami Beach residential real estate market is being buoyed by foreign investors from Latin America, which account for 53 percent of the international buyers in South Florida.