VERO BEACH, Fla. -- While the U.S. housing boom lost its momentum in 2006, international clients - particularly the British - still look across the pond for vacation properties.
With the pound's value at about double that of the dollar, U.S. homes are much more affordable for British citizens than they have been in the past. They also offer significant amenities and conveniences. In a recent article in the Sunday Express - one of the U.K.'s largest newspapers - U.S. resort property expert Elisabeth Miller-Fox said, "Second homes in gated communities make sense for overseas buyers, allowing them to relax knowing that the security and maintenance is being taken care of."
Miller-Fox is with PrivateCommunities.com(R), a website designed to help individuals find second homes in private, gated communities. The site features communities with amenities such as golf, tennis, equestrian, marinas, dining and fitness.
The Express article also notes that less well-known areas such as Asheville, N.C., are increasingly popular among British homeseekers. Miller-Fox explained, "North Carolina and Asheville, in particular, are great choices because quality of life is high while taxes and insurance remain low."
According to the 2007 National Association of REALTORS(R) Profile of International Home Buying Activity, the South accounts for the largest proportion of foreign home purchases - 49 percent. The profile also reveals that nearly two-thirds of buyers from the United Kingdom purchased homes in the South, nearly half of those Florida. The median price U.K. buyers paid for a home was $335,000 - significantly greater than the national median sales price of $221,900.
"Purchasing a second home is a major undertaking, and even more so if you're purchasing it in another country," said Miller-Fox. "Specialty real estate sites like PrivateCommunities.com streamline the search process and we are seeing faster decisions by foreign buyers purchasing second homes in these communities."
Miller-Fox points to luxury community developer DPS Sporting Club Development LLC, which has taken note of the foreign buying trend. "Last week this savvy developer opened a London sales office to simplify the buying process for their Sporting Clubs at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, Snake River Club in Wyoming and Turks & Caicos."