Buy it like Beckham – why Florida’s newest resident is bang on trend

  • Visitor numbers up 3.4% to record of 72.6 million in first three quarters of 2013 (Visit Florida)
  • Tourist spending up 5.8% to $51.8 billion from January to August 2013 (Visit Florida)
Florida house prices up 23% in 12 months (Orlando Regional Realtor Association)
Florida house prices up 23% in 12 months (Orlando Regional Realtor Association)

David Beckham has made the headlines thanks to more than just his football skills recently, with the news that he has settled on Florida as the location for his new Major League Soccer team. Sporting reasons aside, Beckham has chosen one of the US’s most dynamic residential property markets for his planned professional move, with Florida seeing prices rise by 23% in just 12 months, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

Florida’s attractions are clear to see. Sunshine in the summer, followed by more sunshine in the winter, give the State a year-round tourism season, generating attractive yields for those investing in rental properties. In the summer, rental properties are filled with families visiting Disney World, the high adrenaline water parks and designer shopping malls with which the state abounds. In the winter months, longer term lets are snapped up by those looking for relief from colder climes (particularly the UK and Canada) and attracted by the lure of Florida’s numerous championship golf courses.

Tourism in Florida is big business. According to Brand USA, foreign tourists to the US usually stay for 10-14 nights, spending around $4,500 per person during their stay, and Florida is one of their most chosen destinations – so much so that State Governor Rick Scott dubbed it: “the top travel destination across the world,” in a recent statement.

A record year

At last count, 2013 was on track to become a record year for Florida’s tourism industry. During the first three quarters of the year, the State welcomed 72.6 million visitors, which was 3.4% more than for the same period in 2012. Visitor spending was up even more, with the $51.8 billion spent between January and August 2013 representing a 5.8% year on year increase, according to Visit Florida. Both figures exceed previous records, making the first three quarters of 2013 the best nine-month period in the history of the Florida’s tourism industry.

With house prices on the up, it is an enticing time to buy in Florida. The State’s tourism industry, which employs over 1.1 million people, is booming. Will Seccombe, President and CEO of Visit Florida, comments: “Record visitor numbers equate to record visitor spending. With taxable sales up, occupancy rates up, rental car collections up, bed taxes up and average daily room rates up, Florida’s tourism industry has never been stronger.”

With house prices
Tourism in Florida is big business and with house prices rising, now is an exciting time to buy in the Sunshine State

The potential for capital gains as well as rental yield, in light of the market’s movement in recent years, could make now the perfect time to invest in the Sunshine State. Philip Button, Managing Director of Florida property investment specialists Brookes & Co, explains,

“Florida is going through a fantastic period of growth at the moment, both in terms of its already-strong tourism sector and its property market. Buyers are taking advantage of fantastic prices and are particularly attracted to lifestyle investments such as The Fountains at ChampionsGate, where they get to use the property for free for six weeks each year, while achieving NET annual returns in the region of 14.61% on cash invested.”

ChampionsGate epitomises the combination of financial success and lifestyle rewards that Florida is so well-known for providing. With investment from just £46,875 and US mortgages available, the resort offers three and four bedroom luxury freehold villas amid a carefully crafted oasis of pine and oak trees. It offers a haven of peace and tranquility, along with a resort-style pool for cooling down in when the Florida sunshine gets to be too much. At the same time, it is only minutes away from the Walt Disney World Resort, offering visitors the best of both worlds.

Given the bargain price of property in Florida compared with the market peak of 2006/07, since when prices have fallen by an average of 50%, it’s clear that it won’t just be David Beckham who is seeking to be a part of Florida’s exciting property market over the coming months.

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