While Ottawa’s condominium market may be slowing, locals are joining many Canadians in taking advantage of Florida’s improving fortunes.

On Tuesday, CBC News reported that excitement about Ottawa’s condo scene seems to be outpacing the market, with redesigns in the works to increase interest and prices dropping an average of 2.2 per cent so far this year.

Meanwhile, Florida’s market is offering rising value along with its climate and retirement-related attractions.

Brian Ellis, vice-president of Florida Home Finders of Canada, said they’ve been holding seminars for Ottawa residents wanting to learn about state taxes, buying property and other information.

“A lot of people from Ottawa and the Ottawa region are taking advantage of the deals down there," he said, adding that “several hundred” locals have recently brought Florida property.

Florida market contrasts Ottawa’s

Ellis said Florida’s real estate market crashed in 2006, with a lull until around 2009-10.

Brian Ellis Florida Condos

Brian Ellis of Florida Home Finders of Canada says several hundred Ottawa-area residents have recently bought property in Florida. (CBC)

He said prices are now increasing as more people look to take advantage of low prices, to the point where their next crisis could be a real estate shortage.

"They went to the depths of the bottom of the real estate market throughout the U.S., particularly in Florida, and now they're picking up,” he said.

“Year over year, for example in Orlando, prices are up 30 per cent in the last 18 months to two years."

The United States’ National Association of Realtors said in a report Canadians have made up 29.6 per cent of foreign homebuyers in Florida so far in 2013.

That’s second to homebuyers from Latin America and the Caribbean, who have made up 32.1 per cent of foreign homebuyers in 2013.

Europeans are third at 26.6 per cent.

More on Canadians buying in Florida

  • 43 per cent bought single family-detached homes.
  • Another 42 per cent of Canadians bought condos or an apartment.
  • 52 per cent of the properties purchased were for vacation purposes.
  • 17 per cent of homes were bought for rental for investment purposes alone. 
  • 48 per cent planned to use property between three to six months a year.
  • 51 per cent of Canadian buyers paid under $200,00 for their place — average $285,325.
  • 90 per cent of Canadian buyers paid cash, meaning no mortgages.

(Source: National Association of Realtors)

Rental bookings get snapped up quickly, new owner says

Ottawa’s Marlena Floyd bought property in Florida this year, settling on a condo in Venice, Fla., at the end of August with another friend.

She said retirement is coming in eight to 10 years for the both of them, so they decided to start the transition towards a possible move down south while renting it out in the meantime.

"I think we could probably get the same condo here for maybe twice the amount, for two bedrooms two (bathrooms),” she said.

“I'm not going to tell you what I paid, but we got it for a great deal."

Floyd said after a week of listing it on a rentals website, they had booked it solid until April 2014.

'The main reason is the price'

Kavita Patel Florida Condos

Kavita Patel says the price of a Florida condo is what piqued her interest. (CBC)

Kavita Patel said at a recent Florida homebuyers' seminar she’s interested in a Florida investment with a group of her friends.

“The main reason is the price, because what's available in Ottawa is way beyond our means at the moment,” she said.

“If we're investing as a group, the prices are better down there in Florida."

However, renters said there are extra costs to keep in mind when renting in Florida such as legal fees, closing costs, taxes and condo fees. 

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