Based on an industry survey, Sarasota condos got a heads-up among international homebuyers.

In all of the South Florida region, foreign homebuyers’ spending was estimated to have increased by $900 million to $7.1 billion in 2017 from the $6.2 billion spent in 2016. More residences were purchased as international buyers bought 15,400 residential properties, up 41.3 percent from the 10,900 residential purchases by foreigners in 2016.

This sixth annual survey on Florida’s international home buying trends indicated that 55 percent of foreigners buying South Florida residences prefer condominiums.

Overall, Florida remains as the top U.S. destination for foreign buyers, accounting for 22 percent of all international sales, according to a separate 2017 NAR report. 

During a forum of Sarasota and Manatee realtors, NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun said Florida inspires the confidence of foreign home buyers as they view properties in the state as safe investments bound to rise in value in the future. 

On the downside, he said that one of the major barriers international buyers face is thin inventory of residential properties which are attractive to them. Other concerns, Yun added, is the constraints foreign buyers encounter in transferring funds and coping with restrictive immigration laws.