Hurricane Irma not expected to deter snowbirds from Florida
Published Monday, September 11, 2017 10:27PM EDT
With millions of Canadians heading south during the winter months, at least two real estate experts don’t think this hurricane season will have a long-term impact on snowbirds travelling to Florida.
Robert Reiss of Winnipeg owns five properties in the state, and they all survived Hurricane Irma. He thinks Canadians will still make the trip south this winter despite the rough storm season.
“I really don't think it's going to hurt our economy at all,” he told CTV Winnipeg. “When (Canadians) see we came out relatively unscathed, I think we are going to have a busy season this year.”
Hurricane Irma has hit Florida hard since this past weekend. More than 6 million homes and businesses are without power and it could be weeks before it’s restored. According to the risk management company Moody’s Analytics, Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are estimated to cost the American economy between $150-200 billion.
Florida is the most popular destination for snowbirds. Canadians own 500,000 homes in the Sunshine State and roughly 4 million visit the area if you include tourists.
Of the $20 billion Canadians spent on real estate in 2016, $7.8 billion went to Florida.
“With interest rates low and the Canadian dollar strengthening and the real estate market in Florida strengthening, all of these factors have come together and Canadians are buying,” said David Altro, a lawyer who specializes in Canadians buying American real estate.
“The market is definitely strong now.”
Altro adds that while Hurricane Irma is certainly not helping the real estate market in Florida, many snowbirds don’t fly south until winter approaches -- after hurricane season.
“When Canadians are in Florida, there’s no hurricanes.”
Canadians are a big part of Florida’s tourism as well. The state is on track to have 5.3 million international tourists in the first eight months -- with 2.2 million Canadians.
Florida Tourism is planning for a big marketing push in Canada this October. Some Florida businesses are even promoting a "par program" to match the Canadian dollar and ensure Florida’s biggest fans return.
With a report from CTV’s Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon.