Double whammy hits foreign homebuyers

Tax, currency rules can sour investment upon sale

It's the time of year when families dream about skiing and wonderful places for holiday reunions. Nearly 20 years ago, when some very popular Canadian resorts were growing like crazy, the Canadian dollar was dropping lower against some of the world's currencies. American investors and recreational buyers found real estate bargains in Canada simply because of the strength of the U.S. dollar. Other U.S. homebuyers, especially cash-strapped seniors seeking less expensive health care and medicines, sold their primary residence, took significant sums of home equity (thanks to a run-up in appreciation), moved north of the border and became full-time residents. A good example of the second-home situation occurred in Whistler, Canada, the popular resort up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver and the site for downhill skiing of the 2010 Olympics. The region had gained in popularity ever since 1991 when it became the first mountain resort outside of the U.S. to be named No. 1 by ...