Real Estate

Canadians selling more homes than they are buying in Phoenix area

(Source: AZCentral):  Catherine Reagor

Oh, Canadians, why aren’t you buying more homes in metro Phoenix?

Our neighbors north of the border are spending a record amount on U.S. houses, but their pace of purchases hasn’t picked up much in the Valley.

Canadians spent about $19 billion on American homes during the past year, says the latest National Association of Realtors report. That’s more than double the $9 billion they spent during the 12 months that ended in April 2015.

Arizona housing analyst Mike Orr told me Canadians bought 44 Valley homes in June. That’s up from 36 in June 2016, but is “dismal” compared with past years, he said.

The numbers on Canadians buying metro Phoenix homes explain his dismal comment:

  • June 2015: 70
  • June 2014: 126
  • June 2013: 185
  • June 2012: 326
  • June 2011: 421

Buying bargains

Canadians went on a metro Phoenix buying spree during the housing crash, when foreclosure homes were bargains, and the loonie was worth more than the dollar. They were behind 6 percent of all Valley home purchases then.

But then in 2015 as home prices began to bounce back and the loonie fell against the dollar, Canadians began to sell more Arizona houses than they purchased.

Last summer, housing expert Tom Ruff of The Information Market did an analysis on Valley homes bought and sold by Canadians using north-of-the-border tax mailing addresses on property records.

He concluding that for every Canadian buying a metro Phoenix home, another nine are selling.

Diane Brennan, a Scottsdale real-estate agent, host of “That Real Estate Show” on TV and radio and a native Canadian, told me any data showing a big increase in Canadians buying Arizona homes doesn’t make sense to her.

International draw

“I had many international clients — mostly Canadian and Chinese — during 2010 and 2011 when Phoenix AZ had fire-sale pricing on housing. Much higher current prices coupled with a stronger U.S. dollar have brought my international buyers to a trickle,” said an unnamed real-estate agent from Arizona, who responded to the Realtor survey.

Despite the drop in Canadian homebuyers, Arizona ranks fifth among U.S. states attracting the most international homebuyers, according to the Realtor’s report.

Homebuyers from Europe are offsetting some waning demand from Canadians in metro Phoenix, says the Realtor report.

When I wrote about the trend of more Canadians starting to sell instead of buy in the Phoenix-area last year, I received many emails and calls from Canadians telling me how much they love Arizona’s desert and don’t plan on selling.

We owe our neighbors to the north a big thank you. The record number of Canadians buying Valley houses during the crash helped our housing market recover more quickly.

And who can blame an owner for selling when the value of their house has more than doubled? That’s part of the American way