Canadian snowbirds encouraged to buy a Fla. home

10/15/2014

Canadian snowbirds encouraged to buy a Fla. home

MONTREAL, Canada – Oct. 14, 2014 – As Canadian snowbirds prepare to head south, the Annual Snowbird outlook from BMO Bank of Montreal is telling Canadians that "U.S. housing affordability remains healthy, and prices are expected to increase in Florida, Arizona and other popular areas."

The bank offers only two warnings to Canadians considering a southern move: The border crossing rules are more strict, and a strengthening U.S. dollar could make purchases in Florida and elsewhere more expensive.

"Overall, U.S. house prices have soared 20 percent in the past two years, but are only about half way back to their peak in 2006," and "Traditional destinations for Canadian Snowbirds remain affordable," the bank says. "Compared to their peaks, prices in Tampa are down 34 percent, Phoenix down 30 percent, Las Vegas off 43 percent, and Miami down a whopping 52 percent."

"Now, with the American economy and employment gaining strength, home sales should gather some momentum," advises Sal Guatieri, senior economist, BMO Capital Markets. "We expect prices to rise over time alongside growing family incomes."

Guatieri also says BMO expects "capital gains appreciation for Canadians who purchase U.S. property."

Florida a hotspot

Florida continues to be a hotspot with Canadians representing the largest foreign buyers of Florida housing, BMO says. More than 500,000 Canadians currently own real estate in Florida.

"Florida properties are a bargain compared to real estate in Canada. The median priced home in Florida is nearly half that in Canada," says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer, BMO Harris Private Bank. "Popular areas include Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Orlando-Kissimmee, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach, Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Naples-Marco Island.

"We project retirement state housing prices to outpace the national average, due to increasing numbers of retirees, and abundance of capital from abroad and lower interest rates. Foreign buyers are interested in U.S. real estate because it's relatively cheap when gauged against incomes, and it's situated in a stable/safe haven economy," added Mr. Ablin.

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