Florida Realtors: Ontario property tax driving U.S. investment

According to Sarasota Bay Real Estate, until now most buyers have been attracted to “second homes with a sunny, tropical climate.” But the increasing number of cash purchases suggests investor appetite --- especially on the part of Canadians -- is gaining strength.

In fact, that interest is only expected to grow, according to Christina Miller, a partner in Sarasota Bay Real Estate. She and others are pointing to a gap in the average Toronto home price compared its Florida counterpart, but also to the property tax increases expected to widen the divide.

The Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corp’s announcement that property owners will see an average assessment increase of 5.5 per cent over four years may be the tipping point. Homes in Toronto will be hard hit, following new appraisals suggesting the average value of Toronto homes has appreciated 22.8 per cent in four years.

Larry Hummel, MPAC's chief assessor, says most markets across the province have followed suit.

"Our values reflect local real estate markets and confirm that most homeowners in the province have seen the value of their homes increase over the last four years," he said.

But attracting more Canadian snowbirds may be challenged by U.S. and Canadian residency rules, say analysts, while investors in Toronto may be reluctant to sell cash-flowing properties in order to fund Florida purchases.

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