Canadian Home Invasion!

Canadian flagWant to see your future neighbors? Look north.

According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, there's a new war of northern aggression and it's starting in the real estate market. Last year, Canadians were the top foreign purchasers of U.S. real estate, claiming 17.6 percent of all international purchases, with the United Kingdom, Mexico, India and China not far behind.
While Canadians bought up the most U.S. property in 2009, their numbers were actually down from 2008, when they accounted for nearly a quarter of foreign real estate purchases, according to the survey, the 2009 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity.

Pretty impressive, eh?

Many credit the influx of northern buyers to a combination of tanking U.S. housing markets, increasing real estate prices in Canada and an ever-strengthening Canadian dollar (or the loonie, as it's known). But Philip McKernan, author of "South of 49: The Canadian Guide to Buying Residential Real Estate in the United States," believes it's something more.

"There is certainly a greater confidence out there with Canadians. It's not just economic," McKernan said in an interview with the Toronto Star. "There is a sense that we are players on the world stage, whether it's our banking institutions or more recently at the Olympics."

So long as foreclosures are up and U.S. interest rates are down, buyers from across the globe will continue to cash in on the bargains. Despite a current domestic real estate dip, more than 70 percent of Realtors claimed that their international business remained the same in 2009 as it was the year before. More than 12 percent reported an increase in international sales.

Whether the influx can be chalked up to cheap prices, currency fluctuations or simply post-Olympic confidence, one thing's for certain -- our new northern neighbors aren't aboot to go home.
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