America is often called the land of opportunity, but these days, it might be more accurate to describe us as the land of dirt-cheap real estate. In the past 12 months, American home sellers cut about $24 billion from the homes they’ve listed on Trulia, of which a staggering $3 billion was slashed in Florida. Meanwhile, word on the street is – international buyers spent a whopping $41 billion last year to snap up U.S. homes left and right. Given this fun fact, we thought it’d be pretty fascinating to see where global house hunters are looking. The results will surprise you.
Florida, Not Just For American Retirees and Tourists
Right now, global house hunters make up about 5% of the window shopping that happens on Trulia. Aside from the usual suspects (e.g., Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco), we saw a ton of interest in Florida … hmm?
In fact, 10 out of the 24 most popular American cities that have caught the eye of international homebuyers are in Florida – check it out for yourself. And yes, this list is based on popularity. That’s right, there’s more interest in Cape Coral than in Miami.
|#||Most Popular Florida Cities|
|1.||Cape Coral, FL|
|3.||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|5.||Fort Myers, FL|
|6.||Miami Beach, FL|
Reportedly, Canadians, Europeans and Brazilians spent about $13 billion on homes in Florida last year. But what gives – are the oranges really that good? We can’t say for sure, but what we do know is that the houses in Florida are being sold at a super discount. Oddly, this blue light special is also happening in Arizona, but last time we checked, the interest in Phoenix and Tucson is pretty tiny. Just to throw it out there, but maybe, just maybe, this is because Florida might be perceived as as being friendlier to non-citizens.
So who wants to move to Florida? With the exception of Brazil, let’s just say that most of these global window shoppers hail from the northern hemisphere and/or across the pond (as in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Russia, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands). Judging by our findings, this interest from abroad isn’t slowing down and may be the jolt that revives the Sunshine State’s struggling housing market.
America’s Next Top Expat Community
Now, let’s talk about the usual suspects. Of the 1.4 million global house hunters looking (on Trulia that is) to buy a piece of the American Dream, most are eyeing La La Land aka Los Angeles. Guess when it comes to “California dreamin,” everyone from the British and Australians to the Chinese and the Brazilians want to be part of Hollywood. More specifically, the British and the Australians would especially love a 90210 zip code since Beverly Hills is on each of their top 5 U.S. cities lists.
Another interesting, though hardly shocking, migration trend that we saw was in Mexico. Most of these house hunters currently living south of the border aren’t looking that far beyond the border with El Paso, San Diego and Chula Vista at the top of their list – no further commentary here.
One anomaly that we’re still scratching our heads about is Australia and Detroit. Right now, Detroit is #5 on Australia’s top 5 U.S. cities list. Aussies must really love Robocop (it’s rumored that they’re building a statue in honor of this 80s movie icon) or they must be really into techno (’cause as we all know, Detroit didn’t just give birth to Motown, they also gave us electronic music without words). Another theory that we’re toying with is that it’s also possible that the folks down under just love picking up homes for $40K a pop.
All in all, if our findings are any indication, America’s real estate market may be a driving force in either making us the world’s second home or an even more multicultural community.
_(1) National Association of Realtors, April 2011