Overseas buyers have provided a welcome boost for the beleaguered property market in Florida, with many investors coming from South America. Apparently Venezuelans account for 15% of all international buyers, while Brazilians, Argentinians and Canadians are not far behind. The United Kingdom accounts for 3% of all international sales.
Speakers at a recent conference expect international sales to strengthen even further next year; stating that international investors have a unique window of opportunity to capitalize on the most affordable property market ever seen in the country.
In 2007 and 2008 California was the number one US destination for international buyers, but lost its place to Florida in 2009, with the Sunshine State accounting for nearly one third of all international sales in 2011.
Most buyers choose property in the Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale area, although Orlando and Kissimmee are always popular. Miami Dade has also seen a massive reduction in inventory levels; dropping from 25,769 unsold homes last August, to 15,405 homes this year, with condos proving to be the most sought-after.
Although sales are up, prices have yet to increase due to the steady stream of foreclosures, and many overseas buyers are paying for their property with cash. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, 85% of Brazilian investors have paid cash, while 91% of Canadians, 90% of western Europeans and 88% of Venezuelans have also purchased property for cash. These cash buyers are also choosing more expensive property, although condominiums account for a massive 70% of the market.