It’s a (Canadian) Snowbird’s Market in South Florida

South Florida realtors are rolling out the welcome mat to Canadian snowbirds. Brokers who are pushing new, upscale condos north of Miami—from Hallandale Beach to Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton—say they’re betting on a convergence of promising circumstances to attract Canadians.

Those circumstances include: a sustained, strong Canadian housing market making it attractive for owners to cash out, and an aging population that demands convenience and luxury as retirement nears. Separately, at work in Florida, a spate of new properties offers prime amenities in a soft real estate market. The result, brokers say, is a pool of buyers who are ready to invest in a vacation property in a region that offers easy access and gorgeous weather.

As always, Florida holds the appeal of warmer climates. Winter is typically when the market for luxury vacation properties heats up, but this year it appears to be especially vigorous, some brokers reported, thanks in part to brutal weather in the north.

December and January brought record-breaking cold to Canada, with temperatures in Toronto plunging to -23 degrees Celsius (-9.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Jan. 5, and during a six-day stretch in Montreal the mercury didn’t rise above -17 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Some small towns in the Far North experienced dangerous temperatures as low as -48.2 degrees Celsius, or nearly -55 degrees Fahrenheit.

If brokers were concerned that the storms that walloped southern Florida last year—inflicting billions of dollars of damage from coast to coast—would depress interest in the market, they were apparently fleeting.

Already many Canadians have called Florida home. An established population of Canadian snowbirds can help draw new blood down south as well, brokers said. Some have owned larger homes or older condos in Florida for years and are looking to upgrade to a modern property with an array of services, including 24-hour security, concierge and valet.

Other big appeals are a multitude of restaurants, shopping, the nearby international airport—a nonstop flight from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale is about three hours—and of course, proximity to the beach.

Of all foreigners purchasing homes in the U.S., Canadians have long been among the top buyers in terms of number of units purchased and dollar volume, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 report on international activity in U.S. residential real estate. Throughout the U.S., Canadian buyers purchased $19 billion of residential property in 2017, up from $8.9 billion in 2016, the report states.

In the South Florida market, which includes Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties, foreign buyers from all over the world purchased $7.1 billion in residential properties in 2017, up from $6.2 billion in 2016, according to a report released Feb. 8 by the MIAMI Association of Realtors and NAR. Canadians account for 9% of all foreign buyers in South Florida, up from 6% in 2016.

If you are a Canadian snowbird interested in investing in South Florida real estate, contact 9 Core Realty today!


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