Beach House Flickr Photo By bobbykeithIn big cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, there’s been a whole lot of speculation over foreign buyers propping up the market. How many non-Canadian buyers are buying properties? What percentage of condo-buyers do they make up?

It’s a little odd to have Canadians play that opposite role in the United States. A recently released BMO Report suggests that foreign buyers (read: Canadians) are buying up Florida properties like it’s going out of style. 

Canucks make up the biggest group of foreign buyers in the sunshine state, accounting for 36 per cent of all non-American purchasers. More than 500,000 Canadians currently own real estate in Florida. To put that into perspective: that’s like if the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador decided they wanted a beach house somewhere on the Gulf Coast.

According to the most recent S&P Case-Shiller data, the price of a single family home in South Florida surged 12 per cent from its low point in April 2011 and Canadians are believed to have played an important part in the recovery.

But aside from enviably warm weather, what’s driving Canadians south of the border?

“The median priced home in Florida is nearly half than that in Canada. At the same time, the Canadian dollar is trading nearly 10 per cent above ‘fair’ value versus the U.S. dollar, arming Snowbird shoppers with extra buying power,” explained Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, BMO Private Bank in the news release.

For cold-fleeing Canadians, the biggest hot spots are:

  • Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice (17 per cent)
  • Orlando-Kissimmee (13 per cent)
  • Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach (13 per cent)
  • Cape Coral-Ft. Myers (9 per cent)
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg (9 per cent)
  • Naples-Marco Island (9 per cent)
  • Other (30 per cent)*

In other words, Tim Hortons should really consider opening a franchise or two in the state.

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