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Strong tourism and foreign demand give Florida a feel-good factor for 2018

Posted on 23 November 2017

Rising numbers of tourists and air passengers, combined with increasing international demand for property point to a healthy year ahead for Florida’s real estate market, said InternationalPropertyForSale.com in November 2017.

The number of travellers passing through Florida’s 20 busiest airports grew 4.3 per cent year-on-year in 2016 to hit a total of 168 million, according to new figures from the US’s Bureau of Transportation and Statistics (BTS) and individual airports. Figures also show that the Sunshine State alone now accounts for more than 20 per cent of all air passengers in the US annually.

Florida’s busiest airport is Miami, followed by Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa and together these four hubs accounted for almost 80 per cent of the State’s air traffic in 2016. Given Florida is home to 6.4 per cent of the entire US population, these figures reveal the weight of the Sunshine’s State appeal to foreigners.

Expectations are that air passenger numbers will be even higher in 2017, if tourism levels tracked by Visit Florida are anything to go by. The state-funded agency has confirmed that Florida welcomed 88.2 million tourists during the first nine months of 2017, representing a 3.3 per cent rise on the same period last year and a new record.

“The weeks following Hurricane Irma weren’t the easiest for Florida,” said Julian Walker, director at InternationalPropertyForSale.com. “But the State has an ability to bounce back quickly and its appeal to tourists and investors, most of whom can see beyond the effects of a momentary storm, evidently remains as strong as ever.”

Indicators within Florida’s real estate market are equally bullish, with foreigners’ share of home sales revenue rising to 20 per cent in the year to the end of July 2017 (National Association of Realtors), thanks largely to more than $2-billion worth of residential sales in the Metro Orlando area During the same period, Metro Orlando was second to Miami as Florida’s biggest market for international buyers. Countries sending the most purchasers to the Orlando area were Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom and Venezuela, in that order.

According the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), median house prices, new listings and new pending sales all rose during October 2017 compared to the same month last year. Looking closer, in October the state-wide median sales price for existing single-family homes rose 7.1 per cent to $235,558, and for condo-townhouse properties it grew 5.2 per cent to $170,000. This means October was the 70th consecutive month that state-wide median prices for both sectors rose year-on-year.

“Worth noting is the increasing choice of mortgages in Florida,” added Mr Walker. “Low rates, increasing availability for all types of property, including condos, and negligible redemption penalties make them especially attractive to UK buyers at the moment, who might want to use a mortgage to hedge against the unfavourable exchange rate.”

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