VERO BEACH, Fla. -- British citizens are invading the American real estate market, buying vacation homes that offer excellent value to foreign buyers with British pounds in their wallets.
The international buyer is snatching up a second home in the U.S. primarily for vacation purposes, although making a sound real estate investment is also important, according the National Association of Realtors’ 2007 Profile of International Home Buying Activity.
With the British pound now worth around $2, the realty bargains available to people from the United Kingdom are quite attractive, said Elisabeth Miller-Fox, president of PrivateCommunities.com, a Vero Beach, Fla-based firm.
“The influx of British buyers has been significant. In their eyes, real estate in the U.S. is an incredible deal,” Miller-Fox said. “Interestingly, the British press has been picking up on the story and momentum is building.”
A recent news article in the British “Sunday Express” newspaper said: “For home hungry Brits looking for that dream pad across the pond, now is the time to buy.” The article is one of several such stories in the British media recently.
“The British news reports pour fuel on the fire of this buying trend,” Miller-Fox said.
European buyers accounted for 33 percent of the foreign buying activity in the U.S. over the last year, more than any other continent, according to the National Association of Realtors’ research.
Florida is the top spot for the British buyers. Nearly half of the buyers from the United Kingdom purchased homes in Florida – more than any other state, the NAR survey said. Florida’s sunny weather and the direct flights from the United Kingdom to Orlando and Miami seem to be the key reasons for its dominance.
Many of the foreign buyers have been selecting homes in gated communities, said Miller-Fox of PrivateCommunities.com. “Purchasing a second home in a gated community makes sense for overseas buyers. It allows them to relax, knowing that the security and maintenance is being taken care of.”
One of the popular real estate web sites, PrivateCommunities.com provides information on gated communities, golf course properties, destination clubs, new urbanism communities and listings of luxury golf homes for sale. The Vero Beach, Fla. firm was founded in 1996.