Florida home sales to foreign buyers total $23 billion this year

by Morgan Mereday

Florida maintains its hold over the international market in 2018, as the Sunshine State continues its reign as the top destination for foreign consumers purchasing U.S. residential real estate. Meanwhile, Miami’s housing market is by far the state’s top performer in terms of international sales.

The Florida Realtors’ 2018 Profile of International Residential Real Estate found that Florida was home to 19 percent of the nation’s home sales to foreign buyers, with those transactions grossing a total of $22.9 billion in the last year. 

Comparing Florida’s foreign transactions from August 2017 through July 2018, the study found that the surge in property values and the decrease in for-sale inventory slowed the state’s international real estate activity, causing international sales to fall 5 percent this year from 2017’s $24.2 billion.  

The report considered the increased market competition, as the surge in U.S employment growth advanced domestic competition and challenged foreign consumers. Further, the decline of mortgage rates matched with the large number of domestic and international buyers left noticeably fewer for-sale homes to compete for.  

Price of homes and value of currency also impacted the drop in international sales. As the U.S. dollar holds a higher value than the currency of other countries, the Florida properties are more expensive for foreign consumers. 

Even with the decline in purchases, international businesses continue to favor Florida locations. Property purchased by international consumers was concentrated in South Florida’s metropolitan areas of:  

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (54 percent) 
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (9 percent) 
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (9 percent) 
  • North Point-Sarasota-Bradenton (5 percent) 
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers (5 percent) 

This September the MIAMI Association of Realtors released its June 2018 list of international online searches for Miami homes on its portal,  MiamiRealtors.com. The report listed the countries contributing to the total number of international searches for Miami listings, finding Columbia to be No. 1. It was also found that in a June 2018 list of markets for consumers, South Florida was ranked as a top-five market in the globe’s six largest regions.  

Other highlights from the report:  

  • 41 percent of Florida’s Realtors communicated with an international client in 2018 
  • 23 percent of Realtors reported an increase in their international business in 2018 compared to 26 percent in 2017 
  • 30 percent of Florida’s Realtors reported an increase in their international business transactions over the past five years 
  • A survey of realtor participants found that 75 percent were born in the United States, and 34 percent were fluent in a language other than English 
  • 68 percent of Florida’s foreign buyers primarily reside in another country; the rest are visa holders or have resided in the country for less than two years 
  • Latin American and Caribbean buyers contributed for 36 percent of Florida foreign consumers while Canadians made up 22 percent, Europeans accounted for 19 percent, and Asians held 11 percent
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