Sandy beaches, turquoise water and blue skies - these are just some of the reasons international buyers are captivated by Florida real estate. However, there are some practical reasons as well.
"Florida real estate remains an exceptional value compared to home prices in other parts of the world such as Europe and Asia," says Cathleen Smith, regional senior vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Tampa Bay.
The U.S. dollar remains weak against foreign currencies, making it possible for international home buyers to purchase at net prices much lower than in their home countries.
A 2007 survey by the National Association of Realtors found that Florida led the nation in foreign home-buying transactions, accounting for 26 percent. The 2007 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity noted that U.S. real estate still is considered a prime investment opportunity for foreign buyers.
While one-third of Realtors in the United States reported they had conducted business with foreign clients, Coldwell Banker sales associates fared even better, Smith says.
"In a recent internal survey, 47 percent of our 1,237 sales associates who responded to the survey, reported working with international home buyers from 90 countries in the last six months, which is significantly higher than the national average," she says.
Smith credits the company's name recognition for helping it draw foreign clients.
"Home buyers from Germany, the United Kingdom or Latin America have a certain comfort level with an internationally recognized Coldwell Banker brand name," she says. "We have offices in 46 countries across six continents.
"Our Web site, www.floridamoves.com, attracted visitors from 96 countries in 2007," she adds.
Smith says reaching buyers through the Internet is a focus of the company.
"In today's market, it is more important than ever to reach home buyers first," she says. "Because over 84 percent of home buyers begin their search on the Internet [according to the NAR], we have taken proactive steps to shift our marketing strategy toward increased branding advertising and enhanced online marketing. We continue to buy key search terms on both domestic and international search engine sites."
With favorable exchange rates and its global network of 120,000 sales associates in 46 countries, Smith says Coldwell Banker is positioned to continue its success with international home buyers.
Visit the Coldwell Banker Web site or call 1-800-624-5292 to learn more.