South Florida has a reputation as a hot market for foreign real estate development. And Tampa continues to pick up on that sizzle, becoming a hub for foreign real estate investors.
The Sunshine State is known for its overall appeal to foreign real estate purchasers. One in four foreign buyers of homes, townhomes and condos in the United States last year chose Florida. Together they are spending more than $6 billion, according to Realtor data.
Foreign Real Estate Investors: The Facts
About $370 million of that was spent in the Tampa Bay area, by buyers mostly from France, Canada and the United Kingdom.
And foreign investment in Florida’s commercial real estate in cities such as Miami and Tampa has risen to its highest level in a decade, reports indicate. Investors looking for capital safe havens are fueling the frenzy.
“Tampa is becoming as popular as South Florida with foreign investors, and many of the same retailers and companies in both markets,” David Sobelman, a managing partner of commercial real estate brokerage Calkain Cos., said in an investor communication reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
Tampa is a “slow and steady alternative” to the rest of the state, according to Sobelman’s report.
Looking for Steady Returns
Overseas investors with plenty to spend tend to invest more in strip malls, apartment buildings, and investment real estate––properties that provide steady returns––over single-family properties.
This type of investment led to South Florida’s boom, and its skyrocketing prices. Rising prices and the competition from the multitudes of developers in the area caused some to turn to Tampa in recent years. This is because the city offered lower entry costs and higher initial yields than the rest of the state.
In all, foreign investors funneled $4.3 billion into Florida’s commercial real estate in 2015. This was an 85 percent increase from the year before, according to a study by commercial services firm CBRE Inc. The Tampa Bay area market’s share of that was $540 million, the highest level since 2007.
Canadian investors have been a primary source of foreign capital over the past decade in the Tampa Bay region. Canadian real estate buyers account for $957 million since 2006––42 percent of all foreign purchases.
Experts say the stream of foreign cash flowing toward Tampa will likely continue. This is while investors seek opportunities beyond the top markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
With only so many deals to be had in the “sexy six” and South Florida markets, Tampa still remains ripe with opportunities for investment.