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Photo courtesy of freeimages.com - International buyers from the United Kingdom and Canada make up 23 percent of the Orlando area's foreign real estate market.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 2 months ago

International real estate transactions rise

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Foreign buyers snap up FL

Orlando rose up the ranks in 2016 to become the No. 2 destination of choice for Florida’s international homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors’ “2016 Profile of International Homebuyers In Florida.” Twelve percent of Florida’s international homebuyers opted to purchase a property in Orlando, up from 8 percent in 2015.

And, Orlando’s current 12 percent share of foreign buyer activity is slightly higher than its 10 percent share of Florida’s existing home sales all together.

"The international real estate market is crucial to Orlando’s real estate industry and overall economy,” said Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Bruce Elliott, Regal R.E. Professionals Services LLC. "There were approximately 47,000 Florida homes sold to foreign nationals in 2016. Orlando’s 12 percent of those sales calculates out to 5,640 closings.”

International buyers also contribute significantly to Orlando’s dollar volume statistic. “Foreign buyer purchases involved higher priced homes and accounted for 19 percent of Florida’s total residential dollar volume during the study period,” Elliott said. “That same 19 percent equates to $1.6 billion when applied to Orlando’s $8.6 billion worth of home sales in 2016.”

Orlando is second in international homebuyer preference only the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach area, which drew a whopping 52 percent of all Florida international transactions. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area came in third with 8 percent.

In 2015, Orlando tied with Tampa for third place; each of those areas garnering 8 percent of Florida’s international sales last year. Miami dominated with 36 percent, while Fort Lauderdale was second with 14 percent.

There are five primary countries of origin for Florida’s international homebuyers: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, and Venezuela. Out of those five, Orlando ranks as the collective top purchase location of choice for those from one country (Brazil), and the number two pick for the homebuying populations of another three countries.

Country of Percentage of country’s buyers Orlando’s collective buyers’ origin who purchased a home in Orlando popularity ranking:

United Kingdom 29 percent #1

Brazil 24 percent #2

Venezuela 11 percent #2

Argentina 6 percent #2

Canada 5 Percent #6

Just who finds Orlando attractive? While you can certainly take your pick of potential clients from a king-sized pool of national origins, by a large margin it’s buyers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Canada (in that order) that flock to Orlando. Those from Brazil alone are involved in 19 percent of Orlando’s international transactions, while United Kingdom and Canada nationals participate in 15 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

Country of Percentage of buyers’ origin Orlando purchases:

Brazil 19 percent

United Kingdom 15 percent

Canada 8 percent

Venezuela 7 percent

China 4 percent

Colombia 4 percent

Germany 9 percent

Unknown 7 percent

All other countries combined 29 percent

Brazilian buyers also made up 19 percent of Orlando sales in 2015, but the proportion of sales to buyers from the United Kingdom buyers dropped to its current 15 percent to 28 percent last year.

International buyers tend to purchase properties priced higher than an area’s median price, and they are very apt to use cash because they might not have the required U.S. credit to obtain a mortgage from a U.S. source. In fact, about 72 percent of all international transactions in 2016 were all-cash, with Canadians most likely to have gone that route.

Orlando’s international buyers purchase properties for both vacation and residential rental purposes. Those from Argentina and Venezuela, in particular, like to take advantage of Orlando’s steady stream of tourists and invest in a rental property while those from Canada and the United Kingdom were the most likely to purchase a property for vacation use.

The availability of both resort and urban areas in Orlando appears to be accommodating foreign buyers’ increasing tendency to locate in a city. In 2016, 40 percent of Florida’s international buyers purchased their property in a central city, up from 25 percent eight years ago.

Meanwhile, the fraction of foreign buyers who purchased in a resort area declined 14 percent from 22 percent in 2008. However, the fact that in 2016 fewer foreign buyers hailed from Canada and the United Kingdom – who make up a significant portion of Orlando purchases – did not negatively impact Orlando’s overall transaction tally.

The Orlando Regional Realtor Association, recognized as one of the most innovative local real estate associations in the country, represents more than 12,500 real estate professionals throughout Central Florida.

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