Fewer Canadian snowbirds flying to Florida

by Vernon Clement Jones29 Jan 2013

“We’re dealing in a world where prices are starting to come back, but there’s still room to go,” says John Tuccillo, chief economist for the Florida Realtors association, told reporters this week. “There are areas here where there are still bargains.”

The comments are being directed at Canadian investors among others who rushed in to snatch up Florida properties following the 2007 market collapse.

New numbers from the association suggest the flow from north of the border is starting to slow. That

Canadian buyers now account for only 31 percent of international buyers in Florida, down by several percentage points from even 18 months ago. Their preferences largely remained the same, with about half opting for condos and spending three months to six months of the year in the Sunshine State.

While some two-thirds of the properties cost less than $200,000, that number represents an increase from even a year ago. Past Canadian buying sprees in part responsible for the buoyed prices, not only for vacation homes but also the single-family stock pointed at renters.

Canuck buyers for those two types of properties are expected to continue dominating key Florida markets, but the improving economy means they’re going to have to temper their expectations. Many have, in fact, started to look for opportunities in other depressed states where prices remain little changed from 2008 lows.

“I would come (to Florida) without a lot of illusions,” said Tuccillo. “If you come expecting to pay 20 cents on the dollar, you might be disappointed.”

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