ORLANDO, Fla. – Sept. 29, 2014 – Argentine Cristina Bianchi knows that a good mother-in-law doesn’t overstay her welcome, but a good grandmother is around as much as possible.
I’m retiring from a medical practice, and I’m looking for a place here in Orlando to come and spend time with my family here, said Bianchi, 65.
She is part of a growing number of international buyers throughout Florida.
Leading the state are Orlando and Tampa, which each had an 11 percent share of the state’s international buyers during a 12-month period that ended in July, according to a new report by Florida Realtors. While South American buyers have dwindled, more Chinese buyers have entered the market.
Mounting international interest has helped drive up home prices, but it also means tougher competition for homebuyers who live in the area. Buyers from other countries come flush with cash and can effectively push out domestic buyers in need of mortgages.
For sellers, that opportunity to close in 10 days with a cash buyer sounds a lot nicer than closing in 45 days with a buyer who needs a mortgage, said Maria Quintero, an Orlando agent with Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty. Plus, sellers don’t have to deal with inspections, appraisals and approvals. Obviously it hurts the domestic buyer.
Florida has long led the nation for attracting the greatest share of homebuyers from other regions of the world. During recent years, an increased number of international buyers purchased homes in the state, and those buyers have become a larger share of the Florida real-estate market, accounting for 10 percent of residential sales in the state by July of this year.
In the Orlando area, international buyers are most likely to originate from, in order: Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Venezuela and Argentina.
Statewide, Canadian buyers dominated this year’s list of international buyers. They commanded 32 percent of the international market, up from 30 percent the previous year. But looking ahead, Canadians’ interest in the Sunshine State may wane now that foreclosure bargains have started to disappear and prices have begun to stabilize.
Matthew White, broker associate Sloane Realty LLC of Lake Mary, said he has represented a number of Canadian investors and sees some of them selling properties they purchased during the downturn.
Those buyers are looking for the kind of prices we had a year ago or two years ago. And those prices don’t exist anymore, he said.
Buyers from Brazil declined to about 6 percent of Florida’s foreign market in mid-2014, down from 9 percent a year earlier. Florida Realtors cited an economic slowdown in Brazil as the reason. And the share of Venezuelan buyers dropped from 8 percent to 3 percent, in part due to depreciation of the Venezuelan currency, the report stated.
But the number of Chinese buyers has grown. They accounted for about 6 percent of international purchases as of July, up from less than 1 percent a few years ago. Chinese buyers are now on par with Brazilians for influencing the state’s housing market.
The communities of Reunion near Kissimmee and Minto Communities’ new Festival are among the developments increasingly tapping Chinese buyers for vacation rental homes.
Roger Soderstrom, broker with Sotheby’s International Realty, said his brokerage is entering the China market and will open a Beijing office in October.
But Central Florida’s growing population of residents from South America is to continue to draw buyers such as Bianchi. Orlando real estate is attractive as a safe haven for assets and as good market for renting vacation homes, the grandmother said.
But, she added, there’s no draw like grandchildren.
Information and article from – http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=313888.