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Profile Of International Home Buyers In Florida 2015

The Research Division of the National Association of REALTORS®, in cooperation with the Florida REALTORS®, has conducted an annual survey of purchases of existing homes by international clients  since 2005. Florida is one of the major U.S. destinations of international residential real estate buyers. Approximately 25 percent of foreign home buyers purchasing U.S. property buy Florida properties. The 2015 survey shows that foreign sales remain an important segment of Florida’s residential market:

  •  International unit sales totaled 44,000 properties, 12 percent of Florida’s residential market, compared to four percent nationally.
  • The dollar volume of international sales totaled $23.7 billion, 24 percent of Florida’s residential dollar volume of sales (19 percent a year ago), compared to eight percent nationally.
  • 69 percent of Florida REALTORS® have international clients (52 percent a year ago), compared to the national average of 35 percent.
  • 31 percent of Florida REALTORS® reported having more than five clients (19 percent a year ago), compared to the national average of 15 percent.
  • Among respondents who worked with a client, 78 percent reported having closed at least one sale (75 percent a year ago), compared to the national average of 56 percent for those working with an international client.
  • Respondents reported a significant increase in the share of buyers from Latin America to 56 percent (23 percent a year ago).
  • Approximately 50 percent of foreign buyers purchased in Miami-Miami Beach (36 percent) and Fort Lauderdale (14 percent).
  • Foreigners purchased property at the average price of $538,600 ($300,600 in 2014), compared to the median price of Florida’s residential sales of $258,200. The substantial change in average price appears to be due to market mix.
  • Approximately 63 percent reported that their clients found Florida properties less expensive than comparable properties in their home country (76 percent a year ago).
  • Approximately 29 percent reported that an increase in the percentage of business that is international in the past year (45 percent a year ago), compared to the national average of 13 percent.
  • Approximately 66 percent of Florida’s foreign buyers purchased property for use as vacation, residential rental, or both.
  • Nearly half of foreign buyers in Florida bought a condominium/apartment. Foreign buyers are more likely to purchase condominiums as well as townhouses/row houses since the owners are not staying at their property all year round.
  • The most important factor influencing a client’s decision to purchase Florida property appears to be primarily tied to the security and profitability of investing in Florida property, cited by 51 percent of respondents. This is consistent with the findings of this and past surveys that show majority of buyers are purchasing property for rental purposes.
  • About 41 percent of Florida REALTORS® respondents reported Florida’s desirable location as the most important factor, also consistent with the finding that majority of foreign buyers purchase property for vacation use.
  • Foreign buyers typically purchased properties that were more expensive than those purchased by the typical Florida domestic buyer. The average price of a property purchased by the foreign buyer was $538,600, compared to the average price of $258,200 in Florida’s residential market.