Canadians who collected Sunbelt bargains during the housing crash have shifted from buying to selling. They're locking in gains from years of soaring values that are even sweeter because the American dollar, in the past five years, has jumped about a third against their home currency. Meanwhile, the contentious U.S. election, marked by the nativist rhetoric of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, is holding back some purchasers.
In Naples, a wealthy southwest Florida town that's bolstered by Canadian snowbirds escaping cold winters, sales plunged 19 percent in the first quarter and inventory is piling up. Transactions are also down in once-booming getaway areas such as Palm Springs, Calif.
..."We're seeing economic uncertainty, and, on top of that, we have a presidential election that might lead to restrictions in economic commerce in the future," said Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist. "So Canadians are looking ahead and want to make the decision this year rather than after the election."
While some U.S. citizens are threatening to move to the Great White North if the presidential election doesn't go their way, many seasonal visitors from Canada are acting now, said Carol Bezaire, vice president of tax and estate planning at Mackenzie Investments in Toronto. The primary motivation is to cash out while the currency and home values play to their advantage, but protectionist comments by candidates including Trump and Ted Cruz are providing an extra push.
"If Mr. Trump does become president, do you have visa restrictions, and does that impact snowbirds?" Bezaire said.
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