Canadians become top Florida property bargain hunters
Attracted by bargain prices, Canadian buyers are driving a property sales surge in the US, particularly in the Orlando area of Florida, according to data from leading realtors, Coldwell Banker Feltrim.
‘Without a doubt, Canada is fast becoming the best market for Floridian property. This was proved when I recently re-launched a prime development in Orlando Tuscana Resort as the first 15 sales we made here were all to Canadian cash buyers and in talking to these clients, they all had very similar reasons for homing in on these particular properties,’ said Garrett Kenny, chief executive of CB Feltrim.
Kenny, who has been building and selling property in the area for 15 years, said prices are exceptionally good and he reckons there has never been a better time to buy, with some properties now on the market for less than 50% of what they cost five years ago.
‘Prices are bounding along the bottom in the Orlando area of Florida and there are lots of amazing deals available at the moment. When Coldwell Banker Feltrim first launched Tuscana, properties here were originally valued at $360,000. Now, in a special developer sale the two bedroom/two bathroom condominiums at Tuscana are on the market for a limited period from just $89,900, that’s a quarter of the original sale price,’ explained Kenny.
According to the Bank of Montreal, one in five Canadians would currently consider buying US property for an investment as well as for personal use. With bargains like this, Kenny says it’s not surprising that not only the Canadian snowbirds who have traditionally headed south to Florida for the winter months are cashing in on property at Tuscana.
Kenny added that the strength of the Canadian dollar and the country’s general economy, plus the fact that the Canadian banking system is much healthier, having avoided the sub prime mortgages which have devastated the US banking system, has given Canadian property buyers greater borrowing powers for property investment.
‘I have been saying for months that if the US banks would start lending again, our Florida real estate market would see much more activity, although we are beginning to see the first signs of recovery,’ he explained.
‘In the last seven weeks, Coldwell Banker Feltrim has sold 55 condos, ranging from $80,000 to $100,000 per unit. We are still seeing some resistance from buyers towards properties priced at over $100,000, even if these are still exceptional value for money, and the main reason for this is lack of bank funding. If mortgages were more readily available I am sure we would see a significant increase in demand,’ he added.
He pointed out that during 2010, central Florida had 50 million visitors, what he describes as ‘a sure sign that this area is back as the number one family visitor destination’ and one of the reasons sales at Tuscana Resort have been so strong.
He added that rental incomes are also making the properties attractive. ‘The condos we are marketing at Tuscana already have rental income in place for 2011 and since this resort is one of only 13 hotels selected as preferred accommodation by the new LEGOLAND Florida, due to open on 15th October this year, the rental potential for the future at this development is excellent,’ explained Kenny.
The Tuscana condo development has a total of 288 luxury two and three bedroom apartments created in nine separate buildings set in landscaped grounds. Extras include a large swimming pool complex, hot tub, and $2 million clubhouse complete with 35 seat cinema where residents can enjoy private viewings of the latest movies, a fitness centre, Tiki bar for liquid refreshments, snack bar and convenience store.