Florida Leads Nation in International Buyers


ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ — From the United Kingdom to Canada, Mexico and Argentina, foreign buyers love Florida real estate. And by purchasing luxury vacation homes, mid-priced primary residences and commercial properties, they provide a strong, steady flow of investment throughout the state.

“Foreign buyers like our state's location as a convenient point of entry to the U.S. from Europe and South America,” said Alicia Cervera, chairman and CEO, Related Cervera Real Estate Services in Miami. “Our warm weather, recreational and cultural offerings are also very compelling. This is a very welcoming state to everyone, regardless of background.”

A mid-2007 survey by the National Association of Realtors(R) (NAR) found that Florida led the nation in foreign home buying, accounting for 26 percent of all international purchasers. California was next at 16 percent, followed by Texas at 10 percent.

The 2007 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity, which covered buying patterns from April 2006 to April 2007, noted that U.S. real estate is still considered a prime investment opportunity for foreign buyers and a “safe haven” for their money.

“Whether they use their U.S. home as rental/investment property, as a vacation home or both, non-U.S. residents account for a significant share of home buying activity,” the report said. “It is likely they will continue to do so.”

One of the key reasons is a weaker U.S. dollar against major foreign currencies, including the euro and the British pound. That gives foreign buyers more purchasing power in the Florida market.

“Compared to home prices in other countries like Spain, the United Kingdom and Ireland, real estate in Florida remains highly affordable,” noted Vani Ungapen, director of international operations and research, Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR), in Tallahassee.

Florida is also one of the most international U.S. states with easy accessibility, thanks to 31 major airports and 14 deepwater seaports, she added. That supports international tourism, as more than 4 million visitors from 100-plus countries visit Florida in a year according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A 2005 FAR survey found clear patterns among international buyers, who accounted for 15 percent of total home sales in the state in the prior year. British homebuyers — the largest single component of the international buyers' market in 2005 — strongly favored the Orlando market, followed by Naples-Fort Myers and Tampa-St. Petersburg.

About one-third of foreign buyers that year were from Latin America. Miami-Fort Lauderdale was the favored destination for buyers from Venezuela — the largest Latin market — followed by Orlando and West Palm Beach.

“In South Florida, we've assisted many high-end purchasers from Venezuela, Mexico and Argentina,” said Cervera. “We see Europe as an increasing player in the statewide market.”

The Florida Association of Realtors, the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 150,000 members in 67 boards/associations. FAR's Media Center Web site is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of articles focusing on the many long-term strengths of Florida's residential real estate market as it moves through the current cycle.

Marla Martin, Communications Manager, or Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications

407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or ext. 2314

SOURCE Florida Association of Realtors

© 2007 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

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