Florida Realtors: International Sales in the Sunshine State Dropped in Past Year

Last week, the Florida Realtors noted that the number of foreigners buying homes in the Sunshine State are starting to drop even as domestic sales remain strong.

“A strong dollar, worsening global economic outlook and rising U.S. home prices slowed international sales during the past year in Florida Realtors’ latest international report. However, domestic buyers may have stepped in. Overall, Florida home sales and prices have continued to rise, potentially fueled by more buyers from within the U.S.,” the Florida Realtors noted.

“There’s been a general weakening of the global economy over the past year, but the U.S. economy has remained strong – particularly in Florida where employment growth continues to exceed the U.S. average by an impressive margin,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “From a statewide perspective, our robust level of domestic housing demand has been more than enough to insulate us from any decline in home purchases by international buyers. So far this year, Florida home sales are up 2.4 percent, and dollar volume is up by 4.6 percent.”

The Florida Realtors released its “Profile of International Residential Real Estate Activity” which found a similar trend in Florida that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found earlier in the year.

“Sales of homes to international buyers for the one year-report – from August 2018 through July 2019 – declined by 30 percent in Florida, or slightly less than the U.S. drop of 31 percent,” the Florida Realtors noted. “The dollar volume of Florida’s existing-home sales purchases was 12 percent of total state sales in the latest period compared to 19 percent in 2018, though the U.S. saw a larger drop of 36 percent in dollar volume from international sales.

“Florida remains a top U.S. destination for foreign buyers. The state was home to 20 percent of all U.S. international sales in the latest report; in 2018, it was home to 19 percent,” the Florida Realtors added. “The strength of the U.S. dollar has also made a Florida purchase more challenging for investors living in other countries, effectively making a home purchase more expensive for buyers who must convert currency.”

Florida’s top 5 foreign buyers’ country of origin in 2018-2019:

Canada: $3.3 billion in purchases (17 percent of all foreign buyers)
Brazil: $1.6 billion in purchases (9 percent of all foreign buyers)
Argentina: $1.3 billion in purchases (10 percent of all foreign buyers)
Venezuela: $0.9 billion in purchases (10 percent of all foreign buyers)
Colombia: $0.8 billion in purchases (7 percent of all foreign buyers)

Top 5 Florida metro areas for foreign buyers in 2018-2019:

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (53 percent of foreign buyers)
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (11 percent of foreign buyers)
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (7 percent of foreign buyers)
Cape Coral-Ft. Myers (6 percent of foreign buyers)
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (5 percent of foreign buyers)

Other highlights from 2019 report include:

$16 billion: The dollar volume of Florida’s existing homes purchased by foreign buyers during August 2018–July 2019, which is 12 percent of the dollar volume of Florida’s existing-home sales (30 percent decrease from $22.9 billion during the prior 12-month period)

36,400: The number of existing homes purchased in Florida by foreign buyers, which is 9 percent of existing-home sales (30 percent decrease from 52,000 during the prior 12-month period)

$288,600: Foreign buyer median purchase price ($246,479 for all Florida existing-homes sold)

67 percent: Foreign buyers who paid all-cash

70 percent: Foreign buyers who intended to use the property for vacation, residential rental, or both uses

43 percent: Foreign buyers who purchased condo or co-op units

94 percent: Percent of foreign buyers who visited Florida at least once before making a purchase.


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