At Home Abroad

By now, everyone has heard that activity among international buyers, queuing up to purchase properties in Southwest Florida, has heated-up considerably—especially with their buying power vastly magnified by low-interest rates, the best local prices in years, and a seriously anemic U.S. dollar. Far from being unconfirmed hearsay, this positive development for the region’s recovering real estate market is now a matter of public record. Some of the most noteworthy sales of the year have involved international buyers, many of whom initiated their property search on michaelsaunders.com while still at home in their native countries.

Almost before the ink could dry on an analysis of year-to-date visitation to michaelsaunders.com—conducted just days ago by Google Analytics—the news broke that the second largest sale in Sarasota this year involved a European couple, now residing in the U.K., who found the perfect match in a waterfront listing from the St. Armands office of Michael Saunders & Company. They loved the property so much that they persevered through months of negotiations; finally spending $6, 387,500 to realize their heart’s desire.

The closing is yet another confirmation that far from being a much-rumored phenomenon, international buyers are doing a great deal more than simply daydreaming of owning properties here. They are visiting michaelsaunders.com in amazingly high numbers, contacting us by phone and email, getting paired-up with just the right associates, and often negotiating from halfway around the world before showing up to claim their prize. At closing they often assert their newfound buying clout in cold hard Euros, Pounds Sterling, Loonies or other equally robust currencies.

Google’s report indicates that year-to-date usage of michaelsaunders.com is not only up dramatically across the board—by 52% overall, compared to the first quarter of 2007—but is frequented in ever-growing concentrations by home buyers from outside the U.S. Visitation to michaelsaunders.com from the United Kingdom, for example, was up by 81 percent for the first quarter of 2008. Is it any wonder then why so many international sales are coming together involving buyers from the U.K? It wasn’t more than a few weeks ago that a citizen of the U.K., residing in Hong Kong, saw a listing on michaelsaunders.com, fell in love with the property and immediately flew halfway around the world to secure its purchase.

This noteworthy increase in Web visitation is not only indicative of heightened interest by buyers in all 50 states, but also proves that international buyers aren’t squandering what they confidently believe is a once-in-a-lifetime window of opportunity. It’s now or never for the best opportunities in a recovering market.

From every corner of the world traffic to michaelsaunders.com is being clocked at record levels. Compared to last year, the first three months of 2008 have shown a radical increase in visitation from countries as disparate as the Czech Republic (up 783%) and Costa Rica (up 330%). In raw numbers, the greatest amount of visits totaled 10,441 from Canada (up 250%), 5,666 from the United Kingdom (up 81%), and 1,247 from Germany (up 107%). This dovetails precisely with the 2007 Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida—issued by the National Association of Realtors—which indicated that British, Canadian and German nationals constitute the largest pool of foreign buyers for properties in Southwest Florida.

From inside the U.S., the number of visits thus far in 2008 amount to an astounding 216,722; up 46% over the same period of 2007.

The fortunate by-product of all this international activity is that each new owner adds that much more zest to the region’s growing international cachet; which in turn attracts more new buyers who are likeminded in their desire to feel at home abroad.

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  1. Sarasota Real Estate Market: Rebounding or Not? — EpiphanyDigest

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