Foreigners and recent immigrants account for 7% of all Arizona home purchases, with Canadian vacation- and retirement-home buyers leading the way.
"We see Canadians come here just to get away from the cold weather," says Jodi Kevern of
Arizona Focus Realty
, which specializes in working with buyers from the Great White North.
Kevern says buyers from Canada's western provinces flock to Arizona because the state has a mild climate, lower prices than the West Coast and a location just 2.5 hours from Alberta by plane.
She considers the Canadians a godsend for the Grand Canyon State -- and for her own neighborhood, where they've turned several run-down, foreclosed properties into well-maintained vacation homes.
"The houses may be still vacant for much of the year, but at least they're taken care of instead of having weeds 5 feet high," Kevern says. "It's boosting all of our property values."