Florida Real Estate Favourite for International Property Buyers

Florida Real Estate Favourite for International Property Buyers

The latest annual report on purchases of Florida real estate by international buyers reveals that the state continues to rank as the favourite in the US. It also shows that Miami and Orlando remain the most popular locations.


The 2018 Profile of International Real Estate Activity in Florida published by Florida Realtors takes a look at foreign purchases between August 2017 and July 2018. The statistics show most popular locations, the nationality of the buyers, their preferred type of property and how much they spent.


Total sales

In the year to July, foreign buyers spent US$22.9 billion on Florida real estate. The figure is slightly below the previous year when total spending reached US$24.2 billion. Analysts attribute the decrease to the lack of supply on the Florida property market where inventory levels stood in September at 3.9 months for single-family homes and at 5.3 months for apartments.


Foreign purchases represented 19% of all sales in Florida, a figure that is considerably higher than the national average. International buyers accounted for just 8% of US real estate overall, well below half the Florida average.


Type and price of properties

Foreigners bought 52,000 properties in Florida in the 12 months to August. Of this total, 53% were townhouse or condo properties, 43% were single-family homes and 3% was residential land in Florida.


Reflecting the trend of rising prices within the Florida market, the median price paid by foreign buyers between August 2017 and July this year reached US$286,500. This represents an increase of 10.4% on the median price paid in the previous 12-month period. Prices for Florida real estate generally went up by 5.2% in the year to September.


Who buys Florida real estate

The Florida Realtors profile also looked at the nationality of buyers. Over a third were from Latin American and the Caribbean with Brazilian buyers (9%) taking the lion’s share. The next largest group were Canadians with a 22% share of the market. Florida is a perennial favourite with Canadians, many of whom spend the winter months in the Sunshine State.


Europeans made up 19% of foreign buyers of Florida real estate. As has been the case for many years, UK nationals are the largest group – in the latest profile, they accounted for 5% of buyers.


Top locations

The Miami metro area remains the overwhelming favourite for foreign buyers. A full 54% bought a property in this part of Florida in the 12 months to July. The next most popular destinations were Orlando and Tampa, both with a 9% share of purchases. Brazilian buyers accounted for 20% of purchases of Orlando property. In Tampa, Canadians accounted for 25% of purchases with buyers from the UK in second place with 13%. Both Orlando and Tampa were recently tipped by Forbes as two of the best places to buy rental property in Florida.


The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area also featured as one of the most popular for Florida property investment. 5% of buyers purchased in this part of Southwest Florida. Canadians accounted for 41% of the share and those from the UK for 12%.


Reason for purchase

The international buyer activity profile also took a look at why foreigners buy Florida real estate. Unsurprisingly given the strong potential for return on buy-to-let properties and holiday rentals, the majority of buyers purchased for this reason. 71% said their main purpose for buying was for vacation and/or residential rentals. This figure is 3% higher than the previous survey.


(Source: Florida Realtors)