The Sarasota real estate market has been heating up for some time, but unless you are in the housing industry, one of the major factors driving this activity might come as a surprise to you. In September, Florida Realtors, the largest trade association in the state, released their 2014 report on the "Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida." Their findings definitely match our experience here at Sarasota Property Finders: 2014 is shaping up to be a stellar year for international home sales.
The report found that 20 percent of Florida Realtors with international clientele had 26 percent or more international clients, while on the national average only 15 percent can boast that number. 29 percent of Florida Realtors reported that the number of their international clients had increased in the last five years. The national average for that stat is 20 percent. The top Florida cities that have attracted international buyers are Orlando-Kissimmee (11%), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (11%), Miami-Miami Beach (10%), Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice (8%), and Fort Lauderdale (8%).
What's driving this boom? U.S. real estate has always appealed to foreign buyers, but the recovery of the world economy and the affordability of property in the U.S. have set off an international buying frenzy, focused primarily here in Florida due to the desirability of vacation property that can generate rental income. Nearly one in ten property purchases here in 2014 were made by an international buyer. Of those buyers, the top countries of origin were Canada and the U.K.
Canadians easily take the top spot for international property buyers in Florida. Our northern neighbors spent $2.2 billion on Florida real estate last year, accounting for nearly 32 percent of international home sales. The U.K. was a distant second at 7 percent. Canada has been in this number-one position for seven straight years.
It's not just the warm weather that Canadians find appealing. It's also the real estate bargains they are finding. Median home prices in Canada are nearly double what they are in Florida. Of course, taking the Sunshine State's appealing climate into account, it's no surprise that 53 percent of these Canadian homebuyers are planning to use their new Florida digs as a vacation home. The rest of the breakdown is as follows: 17 percent plan on using the property as a both a vacation home and an investment rental property, 14 percent plan on using it solely as an investment, and 7 percent purchased a home solely for retirement.
As of this writing, more than 500,000 Canadians own real estate in Florida.
The United Kingdom
While Canadian buyers bought the most properties, it was British buyers who spent the most. The mean price paid by a Canadian purchase was $260,800, while the mean price for a buyer from the U.K. was $349,000, well above the mean price of $300,600 paid by international buyers overall in Florida.
Like Canadian buyers, a large portion of U.K. home purchasers plan on using their property as a vacation home. However, British buyers are more drawn to detached, single-family dwellings, where Canadians preferred condos and apartments.
I specialize in helping both Canadian and British clients not only find that ideal property, but also navigate the many laws and regulations that come into play. If you are considering buying in the Sarasota area, please give me a call.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist