Canadians Unlikely to Find Florida Winter Property

By: Cliff Ritter on January 13, 2013

The recovering housing market south of the border is frustrating Canadian snowbirds who actively search for property in Florida.  Investors from around the world – and particularly in China – consider the US housing market a safe haven for investment, and are willing to pay more money for the once distressed properties. 

Asian investors have been active buyers in Vancouver and Toronto, but as the country’s two hottest real estate markets show signs of finally cooling off, these investors are choosing to jump on board the housing rebound in the US.  John Tuccillo, chief economist of Florida Realtors, says Canadians remain the dominant foreign buyers of Florida property, but their leading market share has declined over the last two years.  Tuccillo says Asian investors are increasing their activity in the state, while US private investors are buying the lower priced properties.

They are, in essence, wiping out the bottom of the market. It’s forcing other buyers to move up the price ladder.”

One of these investor groups is Blackstone Group LP, which has spent over $2.5 billion on property across the US – including in Miami.  Tuccillo says as these groups continue to buy up the affordable houses, snowbirds will have a hard time finding property of their own.  Instead, Tuccillo says he expects many Canadians will be renting property over the next few winters.

However, some Canadians acted early and secured a place of their own in Florida, such as Kathryn Millar.  She and her husband will close their deal before the end of January for a three bedroom condo in the Fort Myers area that Kathryn says cost approximately $180,000.  For buyers like Katherine, it’s worth the price to get away from Ottawa for the winter months.  Kathryn says they also planned to look into property in the Equestrian Parc area in nearby Tampa, but found most affordable properties had already been purchased by foreign investors.

In short, the US housing recovery is good for the economy, but less rewarding for Canadians who prefer to avoid winter.