Are U.S. properties a good investment for Canadians? 

There’s been a lot of media attention about the U.S. real estate market recently, leaving some Canadians uncertain about buying vacation or retirement property south of the border.  While every transaction is different, Canadians should be aware that overall prospects for long-term appreciation in U.S. property values are good, provided you’re prepared to stay with the home for a while.  In today’s challenging market, this is generally not a good time for ‘quick flip’ strategies.

Some markets in the U.S. have experienced significant depreciation in home values in last few years.  This market adjustment – combined with a strong Canadian dollar at near, or even surpassing, par with the U.S. dollar – have resulted in prices not seen by Canadian homebuyers in many years.

‘Snowbird’ destinations such as Florida or Arizona represent huge markets, so every type of property, house style and price range is available to choose from.  There are numerous examples of 3-bedroom single family homes in sunshine destinations selling at close to $100,000.  Here in Canada, people are paying 3 times that for a summer cottage.

Unlike the Canadian market, foreclosures are readily available in many U.S. markets.  Foreclosures can offer great prices, but buyers should be cautious about these properties.  Sales are typically ‘as is’ and not warranted against hidden defects and sometimes such homes have not been well maintained.  Also, since property values have declined significantly in some markets, the fact that a property is a foreclosure does not necessarily translate into a below market price.

Under the current market conditions, it’s very important to rely on the services of local real estate professional – Coldwell Banker has close to 100,000 throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Why not talk to your local Coldwell Banker professional about buying foreign property.  They can put you in touch with an experienced realtor who can work with you to find a home that fits all your personal needs.

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