Canadians looking to snap up dwindling real estate deals in Florida are finding themselves facing unexpected competition — from China.
With popular property markets like Vancouver and Toronto showing significant signs of softening, Asian investors seem to be shifting their focus south of the border, according to Canadians who specialize in marketing bargain-basement Florida houses and condos to snowbirds.
“Some of our clients got beat out recently because they were waiting to book flights. Some Chinese investors bought up 35 (townhouse-condo) units without even flying in first,” says Wayne Levy of Toronto-based Florida Home Finders.
“They looked at a picture. They wrote cheques. That’s what’s happening now.”
Asian interest in Florida has “really picked up steam in the last year,” says Levy, whose company is still seeing strong demand from Canadian buyers, but finding it increasingly challenging to find properties under $150,000 as the beleaguered U.S. housing market slowly recovers and the inventory of distressed homes drops.
Chinese are buying up all of New York City real estate as well.