If you purchased Arizona real estate during the US real estate melt down and at the time of the above par Canadian dollar, then your investment as likely more than doubled in just a few years!
Many Canadians purchased simply for investment purposes and are now choosing to cash in that investment to take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar. For example, if you purchased a property 5 years ago while the dollar was at par or better for $150,000, that same property is probably selling for more than $250,000 today. If you sell that property and convert the USD to Canadian dollars this becomes over $350,000 Canadian. A very nice return on investment!
On the other hand, those Canadians who purchased a property to use and live in to enjoy the Arizona weather and avoid the dreadful winter months in Canada are not going anywhere. The thought of putting cash in your pocket is tempting, but the thought of living in the frozen tundra for 6 months is not worth it to thousands of Canadians. The truth is the cost of living is still significantly lower in Arizona when comparing the cost of food, gas, utilities, and even though real estate is recovering it is still significantly lower than the inflated Canadian real estate market. So even at a $.70 dollar, the cost of living is not higher, its just unfortunate and we all got accustomed to our strong dollar the past few years!
We expect to see those who purchased purely for investment purposes to cash in those investments, and most of those who purchased to live permanently or seasonally will continue to enjoy their properties. The Arizona real estate market is healthy and new construction projects are once again popping up on every corner. The greater Phoenix area housing market is outpacing other US cities and the outlook is very positive! Owning and holding US real estate over the long term is never a bad decision especially in a recovering market!
Canadians selling their US property should talk to an accountant first, and be prepared to pay taxes on any money you may have made.