Florida Home Market Leads Foreign Buyers’ Choices


Prospective home sellers would be well on track if they include international buyers among their specific target markets, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. The possibility of a more expeditious sale is one advantage of attracting foreign buyers who often have the ready cash for a home purchase. In the 12-month period ending July 2013, a study from the Florida Realtors showed that 84% of the 22,572 transactions involving non-resident foreigners buying properties in the Sunshine State were cash sales.

The same study indicated that home-selling Floridians stand at the forefront of choices among foreign buyers looking for opportunities in the U.S. market. For the one-year period ended July of 2013, international buyers in Florida accounted for 23 percent of the total U.S. home sales to non-resident foreigners. This slice compares with 17 percent for California, and the identical 9 percent share of Arizona and Texas, the three other leading states in foreign home buying, as per a research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Sales value at peak

Florida Home Market Leads Foreign Buyers’ Choices

For the 12-month roll ending March 2013, international sales accounted for $68.2 billion or about 6.3 percent of the total U.S. existing home sales valued at $1.08 trillion for the same one-year period. The recently reported international sales’ dollar value, according to NAR, is the second largest in recent years.

Realtors polled by NAR are optimistic that the prospect of the U.S. attracting international home buyers will remain strong in the years to come. The continuing strong fundamentals of the U.S. economy and the security it provides are the main reasons for this optimism. In addition, property values are comparably lower in U.S. markets. In Canada, one of the top sources of international home buying in the U.S., real estate prices have been estimated to be higher by as much as 50 percent.

Sunshine State’s strong appeal

Florida, in particular, maintains its luster to foreign buyers not only because of this incentive from an investing standpoint. The state has favorable year-round weather, a worldwide appeal, and plenty of amenities and places to visit.

Breaking down the preferences of foreign home buyers in Florida, it appears that they are partial toward single family residences which accounted for 47% of international sales in the 12 months ended March 2013. Condos came in next at 34 percent, with townhouses’ 11 percent rounding out the housing-type distribution of home sales to foreigners during the period.

Price points of international clientele

Sellers whose appraised property values are within the $200s level will likely find their sales listing attracting more potential foreign buyers. The average price of international buyer purchases in Florida was estimated at $284,965. Measured by median price, international clients who bought homes in Florida during the 12-month period ended March 2013 paid a median price of $216,477. This compares with the $144,074 overall Florida median price and the $187,483 U.S. median home price. Notably, buyers from Western Europe, Brazil, and Venezuela, purchased above the Florida median price.

Utilizing realtors with strong online or Internet presence would be advantageous for sellers eying foreign buyers. In one instance, monthly growth of website traffic of around 1 million unique international users has been noted in a property website, further attesting to the immense potential of the U.S. home market niche on foreign buyers.