Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Canadians Flocking South
Myrtle Beach was just a vacation spot for many Canadians, but thanks to a strong Canadian dollar many are now calling the Grand Strand home.
Year after year, Canadian tourists have visited the Grand Stand and enjoyed our warm weather and beautiful golf courses.
“It’s been a good getaway for us from the cold here in Canada,” Jennifer Boodram told Jessica Foster of The Myrtle Beach Sun News. “In a couple of years when we decide to retire, we’ll probably spend most of our winters here.”
The Canadian dollar, known as the loonie, has surged against the US dollar. This drastic rise in value has contributed to a real estate market that is appealing to our northern friends. For the first time since 1976, the Canadian dollar rose to a modern-day high in 2007 and was valued higher than the US dollar. There have been some fluctuations and the loonie value has recently dropped closer to $1.01 compared to the US dollar.
Real estate agents, excited by the trend, have started marketing efforts in Canada. One realtor in Murrells Inlet, has already sent about 350 direct mailings to Canadian residents and tells The Myrtle Beach Sun News that she is exploring newspaper advertisements as well.
In addition to the strong Canadian dollar, lower interest rates, affordable home prices and better availability of direct air service make the Myrtle Beach real estate even more attractive.
One local real estate company sold 8 homes to Canadians over the past six months. It’s clear that they are seeing the value of owning Myrtle Beach condos and homes.
In January, the Grand Strand pricing for a single family home was $255,211, compared to an average home price of $317,825 in Canada. Condos in Myrtle Beach had an average price of $218,232. It’s clear that the Myrtle Beach area is very appealing to the Canadian market.
Many Canadians are looking for second homes so they can rent them out, use them as vacation homes, or use them full time when they decide to retire. The bulk of homes purchased by Canadians are in the south, and near the ocean or mountains because they are popular vacation destinations.
When The Sun News spoke to Robin Scange of Ontario, she said that it was nice to have their own property to vacation to and that it was a place that her friends and family were going to enjoy. Robin also plans to rent it out when it is not in use by the family.
Some Canadians have had a difficult time financing their new homes. There are additional closing costs, passport requirements, and also a 10% tax charged to foreign inventors through the Foreign Investment Property Act. In fact 28% of Canadian buyers choose to pay in cash instead of taking out a mortgage.
RBC Centura, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada has been able to assist several Canadian buyers because they have offices in Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island.
With the strong loonie and many Canadians looking for a place to retire, it’s clear that it is a market with a strong potential for realtors.