Once again, the Tampa Bay real estate market is seeing a significant increase in international real estate interest. A report published by Point2homes, cited by HousingWire, says that Florida home sale listings are viewed and clicked on more often than any other state. Florida remains first. These figures are being helped by our national neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Being that these are drive markets, we attract these types of investors and cash buyers more so than Arizona and Nevada, who placed second and third in the rankings.
Canada and Mexico are not the only countries expressing interest in Florida’s real estate market. The U.S. Commerce Department projects 1.5 million Brazilians will come to the U.S. next year, most of them with Florida on their radar. Brazilians outnumbered all other international visitors by 41% in 2011; a number that many predict will continue to climb in 2012. President Obama hopes to speed up the Visa approval process, which in his opinion takes far too long to complete. Brazilians have to wait an average of 76 days just to initialize the process at the largest U.S. consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As an alternative, many are choosing to visit European countries just because it is easier to get approved for a Visa there. Many businesses and local markets, like Tampa Bay and Miami Dade, in Florida are hoping the Visa process is revised and can be expedited in their favor. With high end real estate costing about $1000 per square foot in Brazil, many investors are taking advantage of similar Florida real estate that is significantly less.
Whether investors are coming from our direct neighbors, or countries with favorable exchange rates, an increase is none the less a great sign for the Tampa Bay real estate market. The National Association of Realtors was recently polled on their outlook for 2012. Optimism for single family home prices and sales are up from last year’s figures in January, as well as 4Q numbers for 2011.