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Canadians can buy U.S. homes, regardless of citizenship status. The U.S. government places no restrictions on foreign nationals purchasing property. For Canadians who want to take advantage of relatively lower home prices for investment or snowbird retreats, buying a home in the U.S. is a good choice.
According to the National Association of Realtors, Canadians lead¹ the way among foreign buyers of U.S. real property. Canadians purchased 8,800 homes valued at $4.2 billion from April 2020 through March 2021. That number was driven downwards by over 50% from the previous year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.
As Canadian COVID-19 travel restrictions² gradually ease, and as the U.S. emerges from the pandemic, home construction that lagged during the past two years has yet to catch up with demand. Home buyers can expect to pay premium prices³ in bidding wars as buyers compete for hot properties.
So, if you’re looking for a vacation retreat or investment in the warmer climes of Florida, Arizona, or California, or would like a summer mountain retreat in Colorado, you’ll need to do your homework and consider the following:
If you’re traveling by air to the U.S. for pleasure, you only need your Canadian passport or NEXUS card. A Nexus Pass⁴ is a border crossing ID card that will get you through U.S. customs through a faster-moving processing queue.
If you plan to arrive by sea or by land, you’ll need to show your Canadian passport or an Enhanced Driver’s License/Identification Card, or A NEXUS or FAST/EXPRESS⁵ or SENTRI Enrollment Card.
For stays longer than six months or if the visit is for reasons other than pleasure, a visa is required⁶. You’ll need to make an appointment online to be processed for a visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate⁷.
American banks have rules that are usually different than their counterparts in Canada. An experienced U.S. real estate agent can be most helpful in navigating the paperwork and documentation requirements. Just Google “How a real estate agent can help Canadians buy U.S. property” for a list of informative websites.
Canadian financial institutions with branches in the U.S.—BMO and RBC, for example—can provide cross-border mortgages for purchasing U.S. property. Those Canadian financial organizations typically require lower down payments and mortgage rates. Also, they are more familiar with Canadian customer needs.
Every state⁸ in the U.S. imposes a real-estate tax on property owners. The tax is based on the assessed value of the property, which is not always the same as the current market value or purchase price. Expect those assessments to rise every year. For example:
Property investments are big financial commitments. Canadians will most likely have to make U.S. property purchases in U.S. dollars, and it is important to understand currency exchange advantages. Even with a Canadian cross-border mortgage, some payments, such as the initial deposit, must be in U.S. dollars.
MTFX is a Markham, Ontario-based currency exchange and international payment service. Register in less than five minutes for a personal account and begin enjoying the following currency exchange benefits:
Open an account with MTFX today to enjoy competitive exchange rates, low transfer fees, and easy transfers.
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