One in five Canadians interested in U.S. property

The survey showed attractive prices and a strong Canadian dollar were both major factors aiding that interest in U.S. property. Housing prices in the U.S. have fallen about 30% over the past four years, and even more in locations already attracting Canadian investors such as Miami, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

As of March 25, the exchange rate for one Canadian dollar was $1.02 in U.S. dollars.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department this week, the median home sale price for February was $202,100, which was nearly comparable to what it was eight years earlier.

“Now, with the American economy and employment gaining strength, home sales should pick up and put a floor under soft prices,” said Sal Guatieri, a senior BMO economist. “We expect prices to rise over time as the overhang of unsold homes eases.”

Guatieri also believes the U.S. dollar will begin to strengthen later this year as well, providing another way to make capital gains by Canadian investors who buy now.

The BMO survey also showed men were more likely to consider an investment in the U.S., at 29% compared to 16% of women. There was also a greater preference in certain regions of Canada. Some 31% of Albertans were interested in a U.S. purchase, followed by 28% in British Columbia, and 27% in the Prairie Provinces.

A growing number of investors in the U.S. are making cash purchases, but Canadian lenders can also offer a line of credit to homeowners. The line of credit can be used against current real estate assets, according to Laura Parsons, a BMO mortgage specialist.

“You can then use this to finance your property in the U.S., and give you a realistic spending budget,” she said.

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