Florida Realtors issues international profile

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 31 2011 – To assess the significance of foreign homebuyers in Florida, the National Association of Realtors®, in cooperation with Florida Realtors, asked the state’s Realtors about working with international clients. The survey was similar to last year’s survey as reported in Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida, 2010.

The survey was conducted during late June/early July based on information supplied by Florida Realtor members who supplied information from the past 12 months. A total of 1024 responses were received, of which 787 (77 percent of respondents) said they had served foreign clients.

Foreigners participated in about 25 percent of all Florida residential sales in the 12 months ending June 2011; the estimate is subject to plus or minus 5 percent error. Nationally, the level of international sales is relatively small – in the neighborhood of 3 percent of all transactions. However, Florida’s international sales are a major portion of the market.

Major survey results

• Approximately 25 percent of all sales in Florida are to foreigners.

• Nearly all sales are for cash.

• Foreign purchasers buy upper end homes with a median price of approximately $174,700.

• International investors cite value as a major reason for their purchase – the discounted prices of U.S. real estate coupled with the weaker U.S. dollar.

 • Canadians were the top investors in U.S. property, with the United Kingdom now less important than in 2010. Brazil and Venezuela have become more important.

International demand for U.S. property differs in significant ways from internal demand. The important domestic market drivers – jobs, consumer confidence, family formation and economic growth – have negatively impacted domestic transactions. However, international sales have different market drivers – perceptions of value relative to foreign comps, the desire to diversify assets, potential vacation use, rental opportunities, and an interest in placing assets in areas with well-defined and secure property rights.

The Profile of International Home Buying Activity 2011 finds that the international market has grown slightly in recent years, and somewhat offsets declining demand internally.

There is rising affluence throughout the world, and clients come from a wide variety of countries purchase U.S. real estate. Four states – Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas – accounted for 58 percent of total U.S. residential home sales to non-resident foreigners. Florida accounted for 31 percent of total U.S. residential home sales to non-resident foreigners in the same time period.

The complete survey is available online on the research page of floridarealtors.org.
© 2011 Florida Realtors®