Foreign buyers and recent immigrants account for 26% of all Sunshine State home sales -- the largest proportion for any state.
Matey Veissi of Miami's
Veissi & Associates
says most foreign buyers hail from Latin America or Europe, drawn by Florida's nice climate and close proximity to their homelands, plus America's economic stability.
"Buying a piece of Florida real estate is like opening a savings account for [many foreign buyers]," she says. "They know they're putting their money some place where they can get it when they need it."
Veissi, who estimates foreign buyers make up about 40% of her business, says clients from different countries seem to favor specific Sunshine State locales.
For instance, she says Brazilian buyers like the nightlife and nice beaches of the Gulf Coast's big cities, while French customers focus on Miami, Sarasota and mid-Florida. (British and Canadian buyers seem happy to move anywhere in the state "just to get away from the cold," Veissi says.)
The Realtor adds that foreigners are definitely helping to pull Florida housing out of the doldrums.
"We've always had international buyers coming in," Veissi says, "but now they're coming in in droves."