Fewer foreign buyers purchasing homes in Florida

Florida was one of the hardest-hit areas following the real estate bubble burst, but has outperformed national housing averages so far this year.

Florida was one of the hardest-hit areas following the real estate bubble burst, but has outperformed national housing averages so far this year. However, a group of buyers that significantly contributed to this success shrunk during the past year.

The Sunshine State has always been a popular destination for international buyers, but only 19 percent of home sales during the 12-month period ending in June were made by these individuals, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. This was a notable decline from the previous year, when 25 percent of transactions were for buyers from abroad.

Although this share declined, nearly 61 percent of Realtors surveyed by the industry group said they worked with at least one international buyer during this period.

Property data indicates the median price paid by these buyers was $194,700, the report said. This was much higher than the national median sales price of $167,758 recorded during the same period. In addition, an estimated 82 percent of transactions for international buyers in Florida were all-cash sales.

The local housing market is currently very appealing to buyers from abroad due to the weak dollar and because property values plummeted nearly 30 percent in recent years, making owning a home in the area very affordable.

Buyers come from new places

Canadian buyers accounted for much of the activity during the 12-month period, but many of them opted for lower-priced homes, while the buying rate among individuals from the United Kingdom, which held a notable share in recent years, shrunk significantly. Meanwhile, Brazil and Venezuela also supplied of many buyers.

Condominiums accounted for the dominant share of transactions, the report said. Specifically, these properties made up 45 percent of sales, while single-family homes accounted for 36 percent. The smallest share was held by townhouses, at just 10 percent. 

Fewer options could be a factor

The decline in international buying activity in Florida may be the result of a thinning inventory in the area. With prices well below where they used to be, many current homeowners are reluctant to sell, resulting in limited options.

"A few years ago, there was such a bounty of choices and great prices," Keller Williams real estate agent Jason Smith told the Miami Herald. "But it took some courage to pull the trigger back then."



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