Florida leads US in foreign residential purchases

Florida had 22 percent of the nationwide total, or $24.2B, up 25 percent from the previous year

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

Despite Latin American buyers cutting back on home purchases in Florida, the state remains the top destination for foreign buyers purchasing U.S. residential real estate this year, according to a newly released report from Florida Realtors.

And by far, most foreign purchases in the state were in South Florida, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach representing 53 percent of the total.

Florida garnered 22 percent of all foreign purchases in the country, with international sales statewide reaching $24.2 billion for the 12 months ended in July, up 25 percent from $19.4 billion in 2016, the report shows. Nationwide, foreign buyers represent 10 percent of the dollar volume of all purchases.

Latin American and Caribbean buyers continued to account for the largest portion of foreign buyers in Florida, at 34 percent. But as Latin American countries face political, economic and currency issues, their share of total purchases in Florida fell from 39 percent the previous year.

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Meanwhile, Canadian buyers’ share rose inched up to 22 percent from 19 percent last year amid a strengthening Canadian dollar.

The share of buyers from other areas remained unchanged: European buyers represented 23 percent; buyers from Asia, 10 percent; and Africa, 1 percent.

Among metropolitan areas, after Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area came in second with 11 percent; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater at 9 percent; Cape Coral-Fort Myers at 6 percent and North Point-Sarasota-Bradenton at 5 percent.

The report is based on an annual study done by the National Association of Realtors in cooperation with Florida Realtors, analyzing the 12-month period of August 2016-July 2017. The report was based on a survey of 6,551 Realtors.

Overall, foreign buyers purchased 61,300 Florida properties, up from 47,000 in 2016. The median price paid by foreign buyers increased to $259,400, up from $252,500 in 2016. The median price paid by foreign buyers was 18 percent higher than the median price paid by all Florida buyers, according to the report.