Canadians buying holiday homes in U.S. | #Toronto #realestate

Canadians buying holiday homes in U.S.

Last Updated: May 8, 2010 12:33am

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After 30-years of working in Florida real estate not much surprises Barbara Watt – the owner and founder of Century 21 Sunbelt Realty – yet she has noticed a new trend of late.

“We were fortunate that one Canadian gentlemen came in recently and got such a good price he brought two more clients in, in the next two weeks,” she said.

“Bam, bam, bam, one after the other, it was lovely.”

What she found so unusual was that kind of buying pattern among Canadians, and she’s not the only one to have noticed.

The strong loonie, coupled with bargain-basement prices in the U.S. real estate market, are tempting Canadians into buying property south of the border in increasing numbers.

“Canadians have been buying since the U.S. property market came crashing down, now with the strong dollar, not only do we see more money, we’re also seeing bigger deals,” said Shlomi Steve Levy, a partner with Altro & Associates, a law firm that specializes in cross-border tax and real-estate planning.

“People who were buying properties such as time shares or condos are now venturing into bigger properties. We see it on a daily basis.”

According a National Association of Realtors survey from last September, Canadians were the No.1 foreign buyers of property in the U.S. from 2008 to 2009. There were about 154,000 transactions involving foreign buyers, with 17.6% of them Canadians.

The figures point to Canadians taking advantage of the huge drop in U.S. property prices, but don’t yet reflect the additional impact of the soaring loonie.

More recent data isn’t available.

The loonie hit parity with the greenback in early April for the first time since July 2008. The turmoil in Greece has knocked the Canadian currency down in recent days, but economists expect it to remain close to parity in the longer term, with the economy and government finances here among the strongest in the developed world.

“A lot of people are looking and talking amongst my client base,” said John Hogarth, a senior wealth advisor with ScotiaMcLeod. “The strong dollar is making them much braver about taking the plunge.”

Kristofer Hansen of XB Realty agrees.

“It is a perfect storm for Canadians with the distressed U.S. real estate market, high Canadian dollar, and strong Canadian economy,” he said in an email.

Watt says houses that were selling for more than $1.5 million a couple of years ago can now be bought for $800,000 to $900,000. While Levy said that for the cost of a time-share before the crisis, a buyer could probably find a small condo, although not right on the coast.

Most of the purchases tend to be in the sunshine state, especially among buyers from Quebec and eastern Canada, the experts said. Buyers from the west of the country may be more tempted to look at California and Arizona.

Watt said the window of opportunity for bargain-basement prices may be closing in Florida. She said she has seen encouraging signs the market may be improving.

“It’s so exciting to see the market coming back,” she said “We’re not there yet in dollar terms but we are in units. It’s turning. “

The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index rose 5.3% in March to 102.9 from 97.7 in February, while a recent survey showed that 25% of realtors believe the market is picking up and will continue to do so over the next two years.

However, Scotiabank’s Hogarth sounded a note of caution for buyers considering venturing south of the border. The tax regime in the U.S. is different from Canada, especially when it comes to gift taxes and estate duties and changes being sought by the Obama administration are complicating the situation.

“You must seek proper accounting advice before buying anything in the U.S.,” he said. “They can help you structure the purchase in a way that will stand the test of time.”

Posted via web from Toronto Real Estate News, Blog

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About Tariq Sultan
Dear Readers, I am a dedicated Toronto, Ontario based real estate professional who has been successfully meeting and exceeding the needs of his clients for past several years. I am actively involved in the insurance, financing, and mortgage industry. Real estate is not only my career – it is my passion. I strive to continuously provide my clients with exceptional service to ensure they are fully satisfied when it comes to their real estate needs. For any real estate related inquires contact me today, I will be happy to assist you. Best wishes, Tariq Sultan

One Response to Canadians buying holiday homes in U.S. | #Toronto #realestate

  1. Pingback: macsmith » Blog Archive » Quick scan of the net - homes real estate

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