Florida TaxWatch: Overseas buyers key to Florida real estate

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A large part of the success of Florida’s real estate market comes from overseas homebuyers, according to the latest Florida TaxWatch report.

In Buying In, An Analysis of International Homebuyers in Florida, released on Thursday, the Florida non-profit government watchdog group found that international home buyers play an integral role in the state’s housing market, and lists the countries with the highest amount of home purchases in the Sunshine State.

Traditionally, the country with the most international Florida homeowners was Canada, but that has changed in recent years. As of 2013, Latin America and Caribbean countries topped the list, with just over 32%. Canadians were second with nearly 30% percent, followed by those from European countries for just under 27%. TaxWatch says that the three groups account for 88.3% of the purchases of Florida homes from overseas.

“Florida’s real estate market includes a large portion of international buyers, and understanding where these purchasers come from helps us to diversify the economy and strengthen the Florida market,” said Florida TaxWatch CEO Dominic Calabro.

Miami-Miami Beach is the region with the most international buyers (26.20%); Orlando-Kissimmee came in second at 11.20%. Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice came in at 6.95% and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater was sixth at 5.70%.

Florida TaxWatch points out that the foreign investment in Florida real estate is a good way to “increase tax revenues,” while providing an opportunity to attract international business.

“International homebuyers not only bolster Florida’s housing market, they also impact Florida’s economy as a whole,” said TaxWatch Chief Economist Jerry Parrish, Ph.D. “The sale of Florida homes to international investors increases tax revenue provides the opportunity to expand tourism, and diversifies the state economy with global exposure.”

International purchases of Florida real estate could reach 60,000 homes through 2016, the report concludes.

The full Florida TaxWatch report on international customers buying homes in Florida — Buying In: An Analysis of International Homebuyers in Florida—is available at FloridaTaxWatch.org.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.