Building Magazine


Snowbirds helping fuel Florida housing recovery

According to a report by BMO Financial Group, Florida’s housing market is on the rebound and Canadian Snowbirds are playing an important role in its recovery.

According to the most recent S&P Case-Shiller data, the price of a single family home in South Florida surged 12 per cent from its low point hit April 2011, and there is growing demand for Florida real estate from foreign buyers, most notably Canadians, who have helped support property prices. Canada is Florida’s number one source of foreign tourists and the state’s number one foreign buyer of real estate. In 2010, Canadians accounted for 36 per cent of all real estate purchases by foreigners.

“Beyond the obvious attraction of great weather and beautiful beaches, there are two factors that are making Florida real estate an especially good value for Canadians,” noted Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, BMO Private Bank.  “The first is that Florida properties are a bargain compared to real estate in Canada. The median priced home in Florida is nearly half than that in Canada. At the same time, the Canadian dollar is trading nearly 10 per cent above ‘fair’ value versus the U.S. dollar, arming Snowbird shoppers with extra buying power.” 

More than 500,000 Canadians currently own property in Florida. The key geographies in Florida include:

•           Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice (17 per cent)

•           Orlando-Kissimmee (13 per cent)

•           Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach (13 per cent)

•           Cape Coral-Ft. Myers (9 per cent)

•           Tampa-St. Petersburg (9 per cent)

•           Naples-Marco Island (9 per cent)

•           Other (30 per cent)

A BMO report from 2012 found 16 per cent of Canadians would consider buying a home south of the border. Of those considering buying property in the U.S. in 2012, 56 per cent would do so to gain a vacation or secondary property; 44 per cent cited affordability as a motivation to purchase a home in the U.S.; and one-third viewed the purchase of a property in the U.S. as a long-term investment (29 per cent). 

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