The Great Canadian Real Estate Opportunity

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I’m honoured to be a part of the BiggerPockets team of excellent contributors. And no, my dear US readers, that is not a typo. In Canada we spell things a little different. Favour, honour, and labour are all spelled with a “u. And that is just a few of the things we do a little differently up here …

I know I have the attention of Canadians, but why should anybody else care about the Canadians, especially when we’re talking real estate?

Well, if I was an American real estate investor I would be learning all about the Canadian folks and how I can reach out to them because Canadians are buying up American properties in record numbers.  In fact I have heard several folks say that nearly 30% of all US foreclosures are being purchased by Canadians and Canadians are now the number one purchaser of American real estate outside of US residents.

So, if you’re a wholesaler, flipper, realtor or other real estate professional and if you’re in Florida, Nevada, Arizona or California especially, then you should be paying close attention to what is happening with the Canadians because we’re presenting a very good opportunity for you. You see:

  • Here in Canada our homes are expensive. The average price of a home in Canada as of January 2010 was $328,537 (according to CREA). In Vancouver, where I live, the average price of a home is $637,637. When you take condos out of that the number rises closer to $900,000! And that is up 15% over last year.
  • Our economy is recovering. We slowed down but in general, the economy in Canada is doing fairly well. Many people lost money in the stock market but it’s coming back now and consumer confidence is increasing.
  • Our dollar is nearly at parity with the US.
  • We have cold winters up here (but almost nobody lives in an igloo) and most Canadians dream of owning a place in a warmer climate.

When you put all that together you can understand why homes in sunny states like Florida and Arizona look like an incredible bargain to Canadians. Many Canadians see opportunities in the warm areas, our dollar is strong and we’re tired of freezing our butts off 6 months of the year.

We’ll talk another day about how you can reach out to prospective Canadians … but for now I just wanted to introduce you to the great Canadian opportunity. And while we represent only 10% of the US population, we are actively looking to share a little of your fine sunshine.

Image: © Madartists |

About Author

Buy and hold real estate investing in Canada since 2001, Julie Broad is now a full time real estate investor and investing educator.


  1. I’d like to see stats on 30% of all sales are Canadians buying foreclosures. That might be true for a couple select places (eg. Palm Springs), but I would be shocked if it was over 5% nationally.

    • Hi Steve,
      I’ve heard the same stat as Julie quotes from Don Campbell who runs the Canadian Real Estate Investment Network but he didn’t say specific states – the quote was simply “27% of US Foreclosures”. To me, it does make sense that it would be primarily in the South … but honestly we know people who just go down to different states on foreclosure tours looking for deals to invest in. I actually groups who go just across the border to auctions to get deals that way. Anyway … we’ll dig into the stat and see if we can find out!!

      • Let me know I’m interested to see how the numbers break-down. I grew up in Vancouver too and I know that Canadians are making a dent in places like: Palm Springs, San Diego, Phoenix and all over Florida. I’ll do some checking too.

        • Hey Steve -I will definitely dig into the source a bit more too! I did not make the number up BUT I have never read it anywhere I’ve only heard on a teleconference and then again on a CD I was listening to. And Dave is right … at least one of the times I heard it, if not both, it was from Don Campbell of REIN. I haven’t heard of any Canadians buying real estate in any kind of large numbers in Wyoming or even in South Dakota or North Dakota, Oklahoma and so on so I know there are some States we aren’t shopping in …

  2. Julie!

    I got so excited when I read the title of this article.

    When I read the author’s name on this article, I got even more excited!

    Congratulations on becoming a contributor to BiggerPockets!!!

    I couldn’t think of a better Canadian representative than you!!

    As you know very well Julie, I am Canadian too!

    To the rest of the folks out there reading this, mainly the US readers, Julie is absolutely right.

    Canadians have always bought up US real estate, and even more so in this current economy.

    I live on the other side of the country from Julie. I am just outside of Toronto Ontario. I know sssooo many people (Canadians) that own US real estate.

    Mainly in Florida.

    This is becoming a hugely popular retirement state for Canadians…and not just in “Palm Springs”.

    I have a number of friends that own in property in Naples and one friend that owns property in Fort Meyers.

    Personally, I have quite a few more years until I retire. However, I know for certain that I will be purchasing in the US at some point as well.

    Congratulations once again Julie!

    Everyone…please pay special attention to what Julie has to say. She will present the facts, and she really knows what she is talking about!

    Best Regards,

    • Neil … what else can I say but THANK YOU!! What a fabulous welcome!! And thanks for your added comments. I think the only thing stopping all of Canada from buying in Florida is the lack of good flights to get there!! If you’re flying from Vancouver you have a minimum of one layover and often times two!! By the time you get there you’ve been traveling long enough that you could be in Europe or South America!! I’m with you though … it’s very likely we’ll buy a place in the US as a second home/vacation place. Even though I love skiing, when January hits in Vancouver I am so ready to see some sun and warm up …

      If you happen to hear or see the stat about the number of Canadians buying US foreclosures please do let me know!! I know Don Campbell said it but I don’t know his source or if it was REIN research!! Thanks so much!!

  3. Cheers to all Canadians… I am one too ! Love the aritcle, lots of good points. I’m a Realtor here in Phoenix, Arizona, and right now, the largest buying populations are Canadians ! At one time Eastern Canadians (Quebec & Ontario) were primarily buying in Florida.. this has changed.. I meet many Canadians here in the South West, from Eastern Canada and get to speak Francais once in a while ! Love it ! Come on Down !

  4. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments!! What a warm welcome to receive in my newest blogging home. It really is an honour and my pleasure to be writing for you all! If you have topic requests please let me know!!

  5. Hi Julie,

    I will check around with some of the REIN members I know to see if I can find the source of the stat you speak of. I am presuming it is REIN research.
    Nevertheless, I will check around and let you know what I find!

    Best Regards,

  6. Julie, you are such a great add the the BP team! That post was interesting to find out the prices of homes are so similar to Hawaii.
    Congrats and keep up the good work


    • Thanks Matt!! Crazy to think Vancouver is priced like Hawaii… but we are one of the few places in the world that you can ski, golf, and surf all in the same day… or at least in a weekend. So maybe we should be as pricey as Hawaii even though we lack the same level of warmth and sunshine!!

  7. The weathers aren’t THAT cold, at least in Vancouver. I’ve heard that house sales are going up in Vancouver because out-of-towners who were here for the Olympics think that the weather they saw during the festivities (which was Spring-like and uncharacteristically devoid of rain) is what it’s always like. 🙂


    • Hi Tod!
      Vancouver isn’t that cold … but it is grey and that will wear anyone down after a few months!! Some years (not this one – it’s been fabulous!) by late January everyone is grouchy and depressed because they haven’t seen the sun in 90 days. This year it feels like we skipped winter so you’re right … people might think it’s always this gorgeous here!! 🙂

  8. Hi VP – I have NO idea!! Not being a realtor I haven’t even looked at something like that. I know I have met Canadians working in offices in Arizona but I didn’t ask what sort of things they had to do to make that happen.

  9. Excellent Blog.. Buying or Selling Real Estate in Canada?
    Check out it’s free, and a easy way to advertise, buy and sell real estate over the web. This site seems to be Kijiji’s main competitor.

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