LEE COUNTY, Fla. - More positive signs that Southwest Florida may be ready for a real estate turnaround: Real estate agents say foreign buyers are starting show increased interest in the area once again.
"Before I came, I was skeptical about what I might find, you hear all the bad news about the economy and what's going on," said Australian investor Karrie Reid. She's been impressed with the homes she's seen since beginning her search.
"I'm here as an investor, predominantly what I'm looking for is to get some cash flow," Reid said. "Buying at a good price, good value."
Real estate agent Marc Joseph says Reid is typical of the type of investors coming back to Southwest Florida.
"They want to buy and they want to hold, they want the value to increase," Joseph said. "They're not in it for the short term, so what I see is very healthy to our market."
Joseph has seen more foreign visitors boarding his foreclosure bus tours lately, a welcome change after a summer filled with oil spill fears.
"Historically, they're slow months because its summer, but because of the oil spill, it really really was quiet," Joseph said. "Things got scary quiet."
Real estate companies are making extra efforts to reach out to foreign buyers. Fort Myers-based Market America recently launched a website entirely in german.
"Europeans are aware prices won't stay as low forever and the Euro may not stay as strong forever, so they see a shrinking window of opportunity to take advantage of that," said Market America agent Nils Richter.
After weeks of house-hunting, Karrie Reid got her first contract Monday, and hopes its not the last.
"The opportunity is making me want to come over and do more, that's for sure," Reid said.