Florida has always been a popular destination for retirees from around the world. Snowbirds have always been an important part of our market in particular the 55+ retirement communities in the Disney area. Having served this market for over 20 years we have a better understanding than most of this unique market but it looks as though our “typical” client of the past is about to change.
TORONTO – Jan. 15, 2013 – Canadians have traditionally been the dominant foreign buyers of Florida real estate, but they’re finding increased competition from Asian investors who are reportedly pouncing on Florida housing and condo deals.
“They’re seeing the U.S. as a safe haven to put their money,” Shant Epremian, co-founder of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Pink Palm Properties, told The Toronto Star. “I am slowly starting to tap into that market because there is a tremendous amount of money there. Buyers are looking for good opportunities and see that Florida is still on sale.”
But, some say it’s not Asian buyers that Canadian snowbirds face as their greatest competition for Florida housing deals, but investor groups making “bulk investments” – buying up dozens of condos at a time. For example, the Blackstone Group LP, a U.S. private real estate firm, recently spent $2.5 billion snatching up 16,000 houses in nine U.S. cities, including Miami. The investor plans to turn the homes into rentals.
“They are, in essence, wiping out the bottom of the market. It’s forcing other buyers to move up the price ladder,” says John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors.
Source: “Chinese, the New Florida Snowbirds,” The Toronto Star (Jan. 10, 2013)
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