SARASOTA, Fla. – March 15, 2012 – The strength of the Canadian dollar, sustained low pricing in the U.S. housing market, and perceptions regarding the general economic outlook continue to encourage Canadians to purchase a home in the Sunbelt states.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2011 Profile of International Buying Activity, Florida and Arizona are top choices because of their favorable winter climate. In fact, 58 percent of all international sales in 2011 came from just four states: Florida at 31 percent, followed by California at a distant 12 percent, Texas accounted for nine percent and Arizona at six percent.

Even for international buyers it’s location, location, location. Forty-three percent of those surveyed report a favorable location as their clients’ most important factor when choosing where to purchase. That was followed by 27 percent who stated their clients’ top reason to buy in the U.S. was that they view U.S. real estate as a profitable investment.

Canadians specifically purchase due to a perceived positive return on their investment. They also showed a strong desire for a lakefront recreational location. In fact, eight percent of Florida re-sales were to Canadians in 2010. Similar culture, closeness to their native homeland and lack of a communication barrier are also factors steering Canadians to the lower 48 U.S. states.

The NAR profile also showed that in the 12-month-period ending March of 2011, Canadians accounted for 23 percent of all foreign buyers – the largest of any country. In a 2010 article, Canada’s largest daily newspaper The Globe and Mail reported that a vast majority of Canadians were paying cash for their purchase.

“There are few lenders who have a mortgage process tailored for Canadians looking to purchase a home in the U.S.,” said Sheila Blom, Florida mortgage market manager for M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. “Our parent company is based in Toronto, so naturally we have relationship products specifically designed to meet the needs of Canadian customers for purchasing or refinancing their primary residence, second home or investment property in the U.S.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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