News & Media
U.S. and Canadian flags folded to show maple leave and stars
Veaceslav Cernat/EyeEm, Getty Images

Canadians Buy Homes for Fun More than Profit

Thanks to exchange rates and other things, Canadians buy Fla. homes today mainly for sunshine and warmth – and it still draws in 45% of its U.S. neighbors to the North.

CALGARY, Canada – When Canadian snowbirds descend on the United States, where do they roost? examined data from the National Association of Realtors’ 2022 International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate report to see where Canadians are buying the most homes in the United States.

In the U.S., foreign buyers purchased 98,600 homes between April 2021 and March 2022, making up 1.6% of all 6 million existing-home sales. These buyers are in three groups:

  • non-U.S. citizens who have permanent residences outside the U.S.
  • non-U.S. citizens who immigrated less than two years before the time of the purchase
  • nonimmigrant visa holders who live in the U.S. for more than six months of the year for professional, educational, or other reasons

Canada, Mexico, and China are the countries of origin of the largest groups of foreign homebuyers in the U.S. Canadians made up the largest share of those purchasers, 11% of all foreign buyers, spending about $5.5 billion on U.S. properties.

There are no citizenship requirements to buy a U.S. home, so it’s open to people from any nation. And citizens of the countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement and its successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, benefit from special U.S. immigration status options that make cross-border homeownership even easier.

But the reverse is not true. Starting in 2023, Canada banned foreign buyers from purchasing homes there to curb a housing price crisis.

The most common reason Canadians bought a home in the U.S. was for use as a vacation property, according to a National Association of Realtors survey.

That could be because U.S. home prices no longer offer a particularly affordable trade-off for Canadians. Housing prices in Canada reached unaffordable levels in 2022 thanks to higher mortgage interest rates, but the median cost of housing in the U.S. is similarly inflated. The COVID-19 pandemic limited home building and sparked a sharp spike in housing demand. As the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to cool off record inflation, it has also made American housing less affordable.

When Canadians look to the U.S. for a home today, data reveals they’re looking at many of the places that have also been popular among American buyers over the last decade.

Canadian buyers return to after COVID-19-related dip

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have surpassed Chinese people as the largest share of foreign homebuyers in the U.S.

Florida, Arizona, and California were the three most popular states for Canadian homebuyers in 2022. These top choices are also popular American retirement destinations along with states with fewer cold weather days each year than northern states.

The Phoenix metropolitan area, for instance, has long been a hot destination for so-called “snowbirds” from both the U.S. and Canada, who live farther north in the summer but spend their winters in warmer climates. It’s such a common trend that restaurants and other businesses there advertise to and depend on the influx of customers in the winter months, sharing sentiments like, “Welcome, snowbirds!” in their shop windows and online.

Canadians spend an estimated $1 billion in Arizona each season, and Florida’s economy similarly benefits from some 350,000 Canadian snowbirds who call it home for part of the year.

  1. Florida: Share of all Canadian purchases: 45%
  2. Arizona: Share of all Canadian purchases: 23%
  3. California:  Share of all Canadian purchases: 12%
  4. Washington: Share of all Canadian purchases: 4%
  5. Michigan: Share of all Canadian purchases: 3%
  6. South Carolina: Share of all Canadian purchases: 3%
  7. Nevada: Share of all Canadian purchases: 2%
  8. Utah: Share of all Canadian purchases: 2%
  9. Illinois: Share of all Canadian purchases: 2%
  10. New York: Share of all Canadian purchases: 2%

© Copyright 2023 The Daily Tribune News, all rights reserved.