Florida Real Estate Still Topping International Home Sales

A big number of international buyers of properties in the U.S. still favor Florida real estate. In fact, based on percentage of international buyers, Florida has been receiving the biggest share of US properties bought by international buyers over the years. Florida’s weather, beaches, tourist attractions, favorable tax policies, and affordable home prices are still attracting hordes of buyers worldwide.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), over the 12-month period ended March 2013, 23% of international buyers of US properties purchased homes in Florida, bigger than the share of any other U.S. state. Florida surpassed another world-famous state, California, by 6 percentage points.

Share of Top States in International Sales of U.S. Homes

Florida 23%
California      17%
Arizona 9%
Texas 9%
New York 3%
Virginia 3%
Georgia 2%
Nevada 2%

Since 2009, the earliest year in the NAR study, Florida has been the favorite state of most international buyers. The popularity of the state was most pronounced in 2011, when 31% of global buyers bought Florida real estate properties. During that year, California, the second most popular state, got only 12% of total home sales to global buyers. In 2012, the share of Florida dropped to 26%, but it was still the biggest share among states.

Share of Florida in International Sales of US Homes

2009      23%
2010 22%
2011 31%
2012 26%
2013 23%

Among international buyers, Canadians has been topping all other nationalities in purchases of Florida real estate. They even helped popularize the term snowbirds — people in the colder American regions who spend their winters in warmer locations such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and other sunny places. Canadian snowbirds have been trooping to Florida, buying second homes mostly near beaches.

Share of nationalities in total sales of Florida real estate
in the 12-month period ended March 2013

Canada 39%
Latin America/Caribbean      29%
Europe 23%
Asia/Oceania 6%
Africa/Middle East 4%

Canadians preferred homes in suburban or resort areas. A great majority of them purchased detached single family homes, with 92 percent buying single-family homes and 5% of them buying townhouses, condos or apartments. About 86% of them bought their properties in cash, and the median price of homes they bought was $183,000. Second to Florida real estate as the preferred target of Canadians was the Arizona property market.

All in all, international buyers bought an estimated $68.2 billion worth of US homes over the 12-month period ended March 2013.