The Florida real estate industry is healthy, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) – although several challenges confront residential sales.
Speaking at the 12th annual Global Conference, a production of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee and the Global Business Council held at RASM’s Sarasota headquarters on Wednesday, Yun predicted that the Florida market will be a “big beneficiary of net migration” from Americans fleeing high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey since the new U.S. tax reform laws will hit their income-tax deductions.
In 2017, foreign buyers bought $23.8 billion in Florida real estate, more than double the figure from a decade ago. Seventy-three percent of those 2017 purchases were all-cash, Yun said, because wealthy international buyers don’t need mortgages.
Foreign property purchases account for 11 percent of total home sales value but only 6 percent of the sales volume, indicating foreigners largely purchased high-end homes. Although most of the Chinese purchases were in California, “the Florida market certainly has a larger share of foreign investors,” Yun said. “We have greater contact with people of other nationalities.”
The state, Yun added, is also “raising the confidence of foreign buyers” with safe property investments that are bound to appreciate.
One of the big challenges facing the state? “Builders have been under-producing,” Yun said.