Would be property buyers showing more interest in the US, research suggests

by Ray Clancy on January 20, 2012

Interest from overseas property buyers due to price falls in Florida

The United States is seeing more interest from overseas property buyers due to price falls with Florida proving particularly popular, research shows.

Figures from the Overseas Guides Company (OGC) show there was a 35% increase in enquiries for overseas property in the final quarter of 2011 compared with the final quarter of 2010, with the USA showing the strongest surge in popularity.

The United States recorded an 11.11% share for the year as a whole, and accounted for 13.3% of enquiries in the fourth quarter compared with just 3.62% in the first quarter of 2011.

A key driver in this trend were the buying conditions in Florida, where prices remained depressed and opportunities for cash buyers to snap up bargain holiday homes, especially in the Orlando area, were abundant.

For pure investors, the crisis in the eurozone could well have made the US a more attractive proposition than a property in one of the single currency zone’s more fragile economies, according to Richard Way, editor of the guides.

‘The unprecedented price drops in a number of countries, noticeably Spain, Portugal and Florida, have attracted buyers who could not afford to buy abroad before the downturn, or simply were put off by the prices,’ he said.

‘Further to that, as other forms of investment have become less attractive in terms of ROI and risk, people have considered investing in something that not only offers a potential long term capital gain but which they can also get pleasure from, that’s to say a holiday home somewhere warm,’ he added.

He pointed out that figures also suggest that buyers are being more selective and their choice of destination is influenced by economic conditions and perceived security of their investment.

During 2011 The Overseas Guides Company received nearly 20,000 new subscribers looking for information on buying overseas property.

The US is not alone in terms of increased popularity. The rise in interest in both Australia and New Zealand can be put down to an increase in British people wanting to escape the poor economic conditions in the UK and start a life somewhere English speaking, sunny and with better employment prospects.

For home owners, an added incentive is the extra buying power that equity from a house sale in the UK would offer them in Australia and New Zealand, where like for like house prices remain cheaper than the UK.

Turkey is also seeing more enquiries and that is put down to it not being in the eurozone while enquiries about Cyprus have dropped off.

Charles Purdy, managing director of Smart Currency Exchange, said that interest in emigrating or buying overseas is increasing. ‘The popular destinations continue to be France, Spain and Florida. Recent weakness of the Euro against Sterling, hitting an 18 month high of €1.126/£1 earlier this month, is certainly helpful,’ he added.

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