Arizona realtor Diane Olson specializes in helping Canadians find homes in the U.S. state.
By Mario Toneguzzi
CALGARY — Residential property in Arizona continues to be a hot commodity for Canadians.
According to the Canada Arizona Business Council, there has been a $1-million luxury home sold to a Canadian buyer every week in Arizona for nearly two years.
And the statistics do not reflect the total residential and commercial real estate categories where Canadians have been some of the most dominant investors and/or buyers, says the council.
Diane Olson, a realtor in the Phoenix area who specializes in finding homes for Canadian clients, said “buyers are still coming in seeing the great values.”
“Some phenomenal deals are in the higher amount. Our phones have been going non-stop all through spring. I expect it to be very busy this summer.”
The lure for Canadians — particularly Calgarians and Albertans — is the value of properties in Arizona is far less than for comparable properties in their local markets.
“People now are starting to look at a lot of different angles and realize how great it is here for cost, for having rentals, for return on their investment, for easy access. All of those things,” said Olson.
Glenn Williamson, founder and chief executive of the council, said about 60 per cent of those luxury homes have been purchased by Albertans.
“Not only are the Canadians buying luxury residential real estate in Arizona, the majority are cash buyers and the trend is increasing in all industry segments due directly to the 84 non-stop flights a week in season,” said Williamson. “There are over 600,000 Canadians coming to Arizona and this increased connectivity is having a direct impact on Arizona’s economic development, which now includes Canada as a major bi-lateral trade partner on the state and municipality levels.”
In the last decade or so, more and more Canadians have made Arizona a destination for their holidays and that has resulted in many purchasing residential property, he said.
“You’re seeing an enormous amount of accretive wealth happening to a middle class in Alberta in the last seven or 10 years and one of the boxes you would tick off is ‘let’s buy a house somewhere in the sun’,” said Williamson.
“And I think Arizona’s complete and absolute failure in the housing market has (created) opportunistic bottom-feeding. It is the worst housing market in the U.S. if you’re on the selling side. If you’re on the buying side, it’s just stellar. You can’t beat it. You’re getting houses for 60 and 70 per cent off. And they’re relatively all new houses.”
Douglas Fulton, chief executive of Fulton Homes in Arizona, said there has been a significant amount of Canadians purchasing homes in the past 12 months which has shored up the local housing market in Arizona.