Canuck snowbirds may still win longer U.S. stays

“Will the snowbird visa come around? I think so," Roy Berg, director for U.S. tax law at Moodys Gartner, told the Globe and Mail this week. "Why? Because they keep proposing it.

“It will be resurrected next year just like it was last year."

The latest incarnation was a bi-partisan effort to change the VISIT-USA Act by providing renewable three-year visas to foreign nationals investing $500,000 or more in residential real estate. But it ultimately failed to make it through Congress last year.

It would have allowed eligible Canadian Snowbirds to extend their annual migration south to 240 days  from the current 183 days.

While there are a host of tax implications attached to those longer stays, Canadian investors in American real estate have largely welcomed that opportunity as a way of escaping more of the winter weather back home.

Those investors were disappointed by the failure of the latest proposal to win legislative assent.

Still others welcomed the news suggesting it could erode investor demand for Canadian properties, especially among foreign buyers.

That is unlikely, one expert told CREW.

“Even if it did win legislative approval – something that I don’t think will happen – I think it would have a negligible effect on the Canadian market in terms of attracting Chinese and other Asian property investors attracted to Vancouver and other Canadian markets,” Douglas Gray, author of The Canadian Snowbird Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Living Part-Time in the USA and Mexico.  “They are coming here instead of the U.S. for social and cultural reasons, and that won’t change.”

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