International buyers are expected to flood into Florida this year as bargain prices as low as $47 a square foot tempt them back to the sunshine state, according to experts.
Few real estate markets have suffered more than Florida, where oversupply has been a major factor in driving down prices. Foreclosures and a glut of unsold condominiums have especially contributed to slowing down the Florida property market.
According to Sean Snaith, economics professor and forecaster for the University of Central Florida in Orlando, believes the market is set for a recovery that will be led by overseas buyers.
‘For international buyers, 2010 will be a great time to buy in Florida. The imbalance of supply and demand puts the buyer in the driving seat. Large inventory, pricing power and the continuing weakness of the dollar when compared to other currencies mean awesome deals in the housing sector,’ he said.
A new report from Winkworth International says there has seldom been a better time to get into the Florida property market. ‘According to most local experts, prices have nowhere to go but up and a home in Florida bought at today’s bargain prices should prove to be a laudable investment five years from now,’ explained Charles Peerless, director, Winkworth International.
‘Florida’s loss can be a UK buyer’s gain. With low prices on a wide range of top quality luxury homes and condominiums in world class developments, combined with a favourable exchange rate and low interest rates, buyers who seek sun, golf and wide ranging lifestyle attractions can now buy a home here for about half what they would have paid in 2005,’ he added.
There are some pockets of Florida that have been affected more substantially by the downturn than others and they now offer excellent opportunities to investors in high quality new developments, the report points out. These include Orlando where prices can be found at $140 per square foot, down from $250 in 2006 and in Sarasota prices that were $350 per square foot are now as low as $47.
The report says that south west Florida enjoys relatively uncongested areas, is sophisticated and less crowded than the east coast. Sarasota was recently highlighted on NBC as the top place in the whole of the US to buy a home. The city is known for its fine restaurants, beaches, theatres, arts, shops and lifestyle. There has been little or no new construction in the area for four years, so high quality inventory is being snapped up.
Central Florida with its proximity to Universal Studios and Disney World is also expected to become popular with overseas buyers. South Florida is described as the place to buy a condominium where sales are being made well below construction cost. The major reason for the decline in the Miami condo market is the difficulty in getting finance which tends to be more available on houses. As such, condos offer an excellent opportunity for cash buyers, says the report.
‘Buyers get so much more for their money in Florida than in Europe. Spacious high specification properties, spectacular golf communities, high future capital growth predicted, excellent transportation and, of course, the ever popular Florida lifestyle of sunshine, beaches, golf, cruises, theme parks, shopping and dining,’ concluded Peerless.