A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY FOR CANADIAN HOMEBUYERS
Canadians clearly love Florida. More than one in 10 Canadians visit Florida every year, and some 500,000 Canadians own property in the Sunshine State.
Not surprisingly, Central Florida — which includes the Orlando area and Disney World — tops the list of preferred markets for Canadian homebuyers. There are many reasons that Canadians are increasingly calling Florida home — at least for part of the year. In fact, Canadians commanded 28 percent of the state’s international market in 2015 — behind only Latin American countries at a combined 35 percent.
Orlando, in particular, remains popular with Canadian buyers for a number of reasons.
Ease of access. Orlando International Airport is the 13th-busiest airport in the U.S. and the second busiest in Florida — and it’s a hub for international visitors. There are non-stop flights to Orlando from more than a dozen Canadian locations, including year-round service from Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.
Attractions and more attractions. Imagine living within an easy drive of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, including Walt Disney World (and adjacent Downtown Disney), Sea World (and adjacent Discovery Cove), Universal Orlando (and its new Harry Potter themed attractions), Wet ‘n Wild, the Holy Land Experience, Legoland, Gatorland, the Kennedy Space Center and dozens of hot spots along International Drive, including Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Museum and Titanic: The Experience.
Golf and more golf. Central Florida has nearly 100 golf courses, many of them truly world-class. Some are public, some are private or semi-private. Many are affiliated with major resorts and others wind their way through amenity-rich real estate developments. And, best of all, you can play virtually year-round.
A world of sports. Yes, there’s hockey! The Orlando Solar Bears, affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Toronto Marlies (AHL), play in downtown Orlando’s Amway Center, as do the NBA’s Orlando Magic and the Orlando Predators of the AFL, an indoor football league. Orlando City Soccer won an NLS expansion team in 2014 and will be playing in a new stadium later this year. MLB’s Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros conduct Spring Training in Orlando. For lovers of college sports, there are two major bowl matchups in Orlando’s newly renovated Citrus Bowl.
Cultural venues. Locals know that Central Florida is far more than its high profile attractions. The region is dotted with extraordinary museums, including the Orlando Museum of Art, the Morse Museum of American Art, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, the Orange County Regional History Center, the Art & History Museums-Maitland and dozens more. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, a $500 million, multi-venue showplace, opened in 2014.
Natural beauty. Central Florida may be known for its theme parks, but it is also home to great natural beauty. Lakes Apopka, Monroe, Harney and Jessup are among the largest of the area’s hundreds of lakes, which attract boating and fishing enthusiasts worldwide. Wekiwa Springs and Rock Spring — with pure, 72-degree water year-round — attract nature lovers worldwide. Also easily accessible are several prime trail systems for hikers, including Orlando Wilderness Park, the Tibet-Butler Preserve, the Disney Wilderness Preserve and the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area. And the Atlantic beaches are less than an hour away.
Endless shopping. Of course, there are major regional shopping malls, such as Mall at Millennia and the Florida Mall, which are attractions unto themselves. But the area is also dotted with charming and eclectic shopping districts, such as Thornton Park in Downtown Orlando, Park Avenue in Winter Park and quaint and quirky Mount Dora, known as a mecca for antiquing. And sprawling outlet malls, such as Orlando International Premium Outlets, offer bargains galore.
Research and education. Central Florida is emerging as an international destination for medical care and research, with the development of Medical City in east Orlando and the continued expansion of major hospital chains. The nation’s largest public university, the University of Central Florida, is also here, as are top-rated (and more intimate) private liberal-arts colleges and dozens of adult education
Now is unquestionably the time to buy a home in Central Florida. The real-estate crash of a few years ago is over, and home values are increasing again. However, prices remain at 25 to 30 percent below pre-slump lows. Many experts see 2016 and 2017 as windows of opportunity for international buyers.
Today, most Canadian citizens may generally remain in the U.S. up to six months. But many companies in the U.S. will manage your property while you’re away, making it available for rent to other visitors and helping to offset the purchase price.
In any case, many companies in the U.S. will manage your property while you're away, making it available for rent to other visitors and helping to o set the purchase price.
Use this map as a way to get started on your Florida home search. The advertisers in this publication are particularly interested in the Canadian market and have specialists to guide you through every step of the buying process. Then visit thefloridahomebuyer.com to see a comprehensive, searchable directory of every new-home community in the region.