Canadian buyers shift home purchases as US dollar strengthens

A December 2011 of Miami's skyline (Credit: John Spade) and the Canadian flag
A December 2011 of Miami's skyline (Credit: John Spade) and the Canadian flag

Overtaken by Chinese buyers as the biggest foreign buyers of real estate in the United States, Canadians have shifted their purchases of U.S. homes following a weakening Canadian currency.

Chinese purchasers account for 16 percent of sales to international buyers year-over-year ending in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Canadians accounted for 14 percent, a drop from 23 percent in 2013.

Canadian buyers are also looking at U.S. real estate differently, the Wall Street Journal reported. Over the past year, online searches by Canadians for moderately priced homes decreased while searches for more expensive homes rose. (As of August, Brazilian consumers led all foreign searches of South Florida real estate, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.)

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Web searches were up where home prices are more expensive, such as New York; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Kennebunkport, Maine; and many areas of Hawaii, according to And they were down for cities such as Hollywood, Florida; Detroit; and Whitefish, Montana.

In Florida, Canadians are spending more, an average of $400,000 now compared to $300,000 five years ago. That’s due to a combination of higher home prices and the nearly 10 percent decline in the Canadian dollar over the last year alone.

“They’re kicking themselves, but they’re still buying,” Brent Leathwood, a real estate agent in Venice, Florida, told the Journal. Florida, California and Arizona have the most Canadian buyers. [WSJ] – Katherine Kallergis