Time to Go Global: International Real Estate in Florida
The Property Market in Florida can be challenging.
Florida is one of the biggest home markets for International Real Estate. It is impossible to generalize about prices of Florida homes for sale as there are too many factors that determine the value of a particular property. In general, real estate purchase activity in the northern section of Florida tends to be lower than in the south. The south has more popular tourist destinations due to more comfortable climate during the short winter months.
Five States account for 50% of Foreign Buyer Purchases in the US
Slightly over half of all foreign buyers purchased property in FL (22 %), CA (15 %), TX (10 %), AZ and NY ( 4 % each). Latin Americans, Europeans and Canadians – who tend to buy in warm climates for vacation purposes – mostly purchased homes in Florida and Arizona. California and New York attracted the most Asian buyers. Texas saw sales activity from Latin American, Caribbean and Asian buyers.
Where do Foreign Home Buyers Buy Property in the Sunshine State?
The Atlantic Coast is pricier compared to the Gulf Coast. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach are the elephants in the room, they are driving the property prices up in that area. So, can one say that the Gulf Coast is in general cheaper?
There are certain spots like, Naples, Bonita, St. Petersburg and the barrier islands, where the prices are going through the roof straight into the stratosphere as well.
Central Florida is not too expensive, but it is also a vast area far away from the beautiful beaches. For home buyers who love the warm water, Central Florida is not an option. Ocala is the place where the horses roam, but not everybody wants to become a cowboy. Orlando is home to Micky Mouse and his ilks, therefore, for young families with kids that is a plus.
But properties in both areas can be on the pricey side, too. Especially Orlando became a Hot Spot within the last years. The city is easy to reach from all over the world, and who doesn't like easy access? In case you want to convince other people to rent your home while you are gone, that is an easy task with all the tourist attractions around.
Because there are convenient flights from London and Canada, home buyers with Canadian or British passport are representing the majority in Orlando now.
Browse Neighborhoods and Island Communities
More Local Variations
There is a lot of variation at the local level as well. In certain areas, the property values are far spread.
One hundred thousand dollar homes are next to two million dollar homes basically are in the same location. In the higher-end end market, there are spots where 2 million dollar homes are sitting next to 10 million dollar homes.
Both locations are problematic because you want to have the home values a little more uniform. But what can you do when all of a sudden the location becomes a prime location and time is needed to replace the older and cheaper homes with new and more expensive ones? The location is always the prime consideration. Often it takes time to fade out the properties that do not fit the market.
The type of property is also critical for certain areas. Single family homes in gated communities are a very attractive option. They offer privacy and security paired with a wealth of communal facilities. Condominiums are common in urbanized areas. When land is scarce or expensive, it makes sense to build into the "cheaper" sky.
Waterfront properties are always very attractive and rewarding when you want to sell the property later. Gulf view is a prime location and nothing beats that. Canal or river view with boat dock comes next, and lake or pond view are still preferable.
While security and social options offered by gated communities will appeal to some, there are also plenty of choices for the home buyer, who does want to live outside of a gate. However, if you can use the home only part time as a vacation home the security aspect while being absent may play a significant role.
Rental Income - who doesn't love rental income
If you want to lease the home while you are abroad, you need to factor in some other thoughts. Proximity to a golf course, the beach, or to "tourist traps" - tourist attractions might be a better word - will always be a major factor. You will not be able to get a decent rent if the property is not located in a touristic area.
You Don't have too much buying power?
Those who are on a tighter budget might look at other options. However, there are not too many reasonable ones left. Stay away from mobile or manufactured homes. They rarely keep the value, and in the case of a hurricane these cheaply built dwellings tend to fall apart.
You might be better off buying a low-end condo instead. Of course, you are right, those modern manufactured homes look great on the prospectus, but the reality can sometimes be harsh in the Sunshine State. What looks great in a magazine must not necessarily look great after a hurricane.
Where are the Hot Spots?
Miami/Miami Beach: Miami is a world class city with a lot of high-end properties. The city is also the gate to South America, and the Latin influx is predominant. The International Airport is a huge plus and drives a lot of people from all over the world to this magnificent city.
Naples: Naples and Bonita are also a hot spot on Florida's Gulf Coast. This location clearly profits from the proximity to Fort Myers International Airport. High-end properties are dominating the market and many wannabe homeowners are priced out. $200k - $300k gets you nowhere.
Sarasota/Bradenton: Florida's cultural capital on Florida's Sun Coast. The Sarasota/Bradenton area combines beautiful beaches with a wealth of cultural activities. However, Sarasota's International Airport never took off like expected. Unfortunately, there are not too many Airways offering direct flights to Sarasota. Tampa International would probably be the best bet. But Fort Meyers is also only 90 minutes away.
Orlando: Easy to reach. Combines family fun (Disney) with world class golfing and reliable rental returns. Orlando is the world's single largest tourist destination and easy to reach. Many airlines are offering direct flights to Orlando. However, the beaches are far. If you are are beach boy/girl you might not be too happy in Orlando.