Monday, August 11, 2008
Canadians, aided by a strong Canadian dollar, were the No. 1 group of international buyers, accounting for nearly a quarter of all foreign buyers in the year ended May 2008. That was nearly twice the share the Canadians represented a year earlier.Florida was the choice for 33 percent of all Canadian purchases in the United States.Mexicans, who were the No. 1 group of international buyers last year, dropped to third place, behind the British and Canadians. Forty-two percent of all British buyers chose Florida.Rounding out the top six were: China, India, and Germany. Buyers from China favored California, which captured 25 percent of their U.S. purchases, but Florida was No. 2 with 11 percent. Fifty-four percent of German buyers picked the Sunshine State.After Florida, other top states for foreign buyers are California, Arizona and Texas.Despite the current downturn, 35.5 percent of Florida Realtors surveyed said their international business has grown in the past five years, the report said. Some 52.6 percent in Florida reported their foreign business remained about the same, and only 11.8 percent indicated foreign business had decreased.Thirty-eight percent of the Realtors thought the weak dollar was having a significant impact on foreign buyers looking in the United States, the study said.But there were also some factors putting the brakes on U.S. purchases. 'While U.S. real estate is still considered a 'safe haven' for foreign funds, there are some perceived impediments to foreign purchases including cost of property, immigration laws, and property taxes," the report said.Copyright © 2008, The Miami Herald, Martha Brannigan. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.