Florida law bans some international buyers

Some foreigners will no longer be able to purchase property in Florida in the US after Governor Ron Desantis signed a new bill limiting foreign ownership.

According to Yahoo Finance, citizens from Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea and Syria will not be able to purchase agricultural land in the state. 

It would also restrict foreigners from those countries from buying real estate within 20 miles of airports, US military installations, or other critical infrastructure facilities.

Chinese citizens who buy land in restricted zones would face the toughest penalties.

Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Wilton Simpson said that the new law would “ensure Floridians have access to safe, affordable, and abundant food supply”.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Chinese investors bought US$6.1 billion worth of real estate property in the US between April 2021 and April 2022.

While, Florida was the top destination for foreign buyers, accounting for 24 per cent of all international purchases

Under the law, which went into effect July 1, those who purchased or are looking to purchase in certain zones could face severe penalties or fines. 

According to the bill, Chinese people who purchase property in restricted areas could face felony charges, whereas those from other nations could face a misdemeanour penalty for buyers and sellers.

Those who already own property in restricted areas also must register with the state or face fines of up to $1000 per day. 

If owners don’t comply, their property or land could be seized, lawmakers said.

CEO of Oceanside Realty & Investment Inc./ Padilla Team in Florida, Luis Padilla said the new law was too broad.

“In my opinion, it’s more of a political statement versus a real estate play,” Mr Padilla told Yahoo Finance.

“To say citizens from certain countries can’t purchase within 20 miles of an airport, I think it’s a little bit beyond the real estate practitioner’s pay grade to really be playing national security agents.

“As a realtor, I think it’s a law that hurts and borders on redlining citizens just because of their ethnicity or citizenship. 

“If I have to be on one side, I’m not for it.”

Show More

Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.