Despite the all-cash disclosure rules active between March and September 2016 in Miami, the National Association of Realtors says Florida remained one of the biggest international buyer destinations over the last year.

  • Foreign buyers scooped up 214,885 properties in the U.S. during the last year, compared to 208,947 the year prior.
  • The median for foreign buyer purchases is $277,380, versus the median price of $223,058 on all U.S. existing home sales.
  • Of the $102.6 billion in purchases from foreign buyers between April 2015 and March 2016, Florida held 22 percent of transactions.
  • Florida attracts buyers from Latin America, Europe and Canada looking for vacation homes in warm climates.

Despite the all-cash disclosure rules active between March and September 2016 in Miami, the National Association of Realtors says Florida remained one of the biggest international buyer destinations over the last year.

Out of the $102.6 billion in U.S. purchases from foreign buyers between April 2015 and March 2016, Florida held 22 percent of transactions, according to the NAR Research Department.

California came in second with 15 percent of purchases, and Texas sat at third with 10 percent. Arizona and New York tied for fifth, with 4 percent of international buyers each.

International buyers

NAR / Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate

Although volume dropped from the previous 12-month period, down from $103.9 billion to $102.6 billion, the number of international purchases increased 3 percent, NAR says. Foreign buyers scooped up 214,885 properties in the last year, compared to 208,947 the year prior.

Did international buyers spend less?

From spring to spring, non-resident foreigners accounted for just 41 percent of international buyers, while resident foreign buyers accounted for 59 percent. Historically, foreign investments were split among non-resident and resident foreign buyers. Given the U.S. dollar strengthening against the global economy, the drop was somewhat expected.

Half the transactions were all-cash sales, NAR says. Almost three-quarters of non-resident foreign buyers and just a third of resident foreign buyers opted for all-cash.

NAR / Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate

NAR / Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate

International buyers – both resident and nonresident – tended to purchase pricier homes, according to the data. The median for foreign-buyer purchases was $277,380 versus the median price of $223,058 on all U.S. existing home sales.

While both groups invest larger sums of money than U.S.-born citizens, the NAR Research Department says non-resident foreign buyers purchased more expensive homes on average than resident foreign buyers.

Non-resident foreign home purchases came in at a median $253,684, compared to resident foreign purchases’ median of $298,701.

Almost three-quarters of international buyers were seeking vacation or residential rental properties, while almost 80 percent of resident international buyers were looking for a primary residence.

Non-resident buyers from Canada, UK

Countries with the most international investments in the U.S. were China ($27 billion), Canada ($8.9 billion), India ($6.1 billion), the United Kingdom ($5.5 billion) and Mexico ($4.8 billion).

The majority of resident foreign buyers were from China, India and Mexico. International investments from non-residents stemmed mostly from Canada and the UK. 

Florida offers prime climate, proximity

NAR says various factors sway international buyers from one state to the next. Proximity to home country, relatives and friends, job opportunities and climate are just a few situations which might persuade a foreign-born homebuyer.

Florida, for the most part, attracted buyers from Latin America, Europe and Canada looking for vacation homes in warm climates.

“Florida was also the top destination for international homebuyers from the United Kingdom and Canada [and] large buyer groups who like to purchase vacation homes in warmer climates,” Judy Ramella, president of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, said in a statement.

International buyers in Florida

NAR / Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate

Thirty-six percent of Florida’s foreign buyers were originally from Latin America and the Caribbean. One-quarter were from Europe, 21 percent were from North America (Canada) and 11 percent came from Asia/Oceania. Just 5 percent were unknown, and 1 percent were from Africa.

Thirty-seven percent of Canadian buyers chose Florida — the highest share of all U.S. states. The next majority fell to Arizona (19 percent), which also falls in line with Canadian buyers purchasing homes in resort destinations.

Almost 40 percent of U.K. buyers chose Florida for purchases. For buyers coming from Mexico, only 5 percent chose Florida.

Email Jennifer Riner

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