Representing Florida’s Realtors and the interests of the state’s real estate industry, Florida Realtors® President Patricia Fitzgerald is in Canada this week working alongside Gov. Rick Scott and other key business leaders to encourage Canadian companies to do business in Florida.

“A large percentage of Florida property sales each year are to international buyers,” said Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “In fact, studies show that Canadians, by far, make up the largest percentage of international buyers/investors in the Sunshine State. Thirty-six percent of all international property sales in Florida are to Canadians.

“It is vital to the future of our state and to all Floridians to encourage growth and business diversification. Trade missions such as this one offer a prime opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of doing business – and living – in Florida.”

During the governor’s weeklong mission to the cities of Montreal and Toronto, participants have discussed relocation with numerous corporations interested in Florida. In addition, Florida Realtors’ leadership has met with a large number of individuals interested in buying Florida vacation and investment properties.

“We are encouraging all potential buyers to visit our consumer website at, where they can search for a Realtor in Florida based on location and specialty,” Fitzgerald said. “The Canadian dollar remains very strong, and combined with the availability of a wide variety of homes at affordable prices, Florida real estate is more appealing than ever.”

A few questions about property taxes have come up during these meetings, noted John Sebree, vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors. “Canadians have expressed some concern that the property tax system in Florida is not fair to non-homestead property owners,” Sebree said. “We have explained the joint resolution passed by the Florida Legislature last month that will be on the ballot for the 2012 general election. If passed by voters, this will provide a 5 percent assessment cap for non-homestead property owners, among other things – which is welcome news to potential buyers of investment and vacation properties.”

During this trade mission, Gov. Scott has said many companies in Canada cite the state’s favorable business climate and its commitment to cut taxes and grow jobs as strong incentives for doing business in Florida.

Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its nearly 115,000 members in 64 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at

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