Strong Loonie driving U.S. property purchases

In the year ending in March 2012, Canadians made up 24 per cent of all international sales, making them the largest buyers of U.S. real estate before China (11 per cent) and Mexico (9 per cent). According to Jason Mercer, senior manager, market analysis at the Toronto Real Estate Board, several contributing factors including the strong performance of the Canadian dollar as reasons homebuyers and investors are heading south.

 “The value of the Canadian dollar has been high relative to the U.S. dollar in recent years” he said. “It is reasonable to assume Canadian households have taken advantage of the high Canadian dollar to purchase goods and services south of the border, including real estate.” The loonie has appreciated over 5 percent in value above the U.S. dollar, Euro and British Sterling, it’s fastest rise since 1974.

The weakened economy and housing crash in the United States were draws for international buyers from all over the world in 2012. More than $82.5 billion in US real estate was sold to foreign buyers, up from $16.1 billion from the previous year. Mercer suspects another reason Canadians were responsible for almost a quarter of international sales is the strong performance of the Canadian housing market over the past four years.

“The Canadian real estate market has performed well since the recession,” he said. “Save for a short period of price decline during the economic downturn in 2009, many markets across the country have experienced year-over-year price growth, including Greater Toronto, Canada’s largest metropolitan area.” Reports from both BoC and CREA indicate the housing prices across the country have enjoyed a consistent increase each year for over a decade, with markets such as Toronto and Calgary enjoying standout gains.

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