Text Sizes: A A A

News Release

« Back

For Immediate Release                    
Feb. 11, 2010
Staff Contact
Melanie Green, Communications Director
Voice (904) 394-9494, ext. 1204
Fax (904) 398-8025

NEFAR President
Carol Hill
Voice (904) 296-1906

NEFAR's International Real Estate Council Hears From Cornerstone International Director
Breen describes increased international business focus on Northeast Florida; IREC members receiving specialized training to assist international customers. 
More than 80 members of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors' International Real Estate Council heard from Michael Breen, director of the International department of the Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership, at IREC's Jan. 29 breakfast meeting. Cornerstone is a division of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce that facilitates the creation and retention of quality jobs and significant capital investment into Northeast Florida.


Breen explained that European countries are a successful target, with several European-based companies recently opening in Jacksonville. He said that the Chamber has significantly increased its focus on seeking international firms, as a result of the favorable monetary exchange with the dollar. He indicated that Northeast Florida is very attractive to European small-to-medium size business owners due to a number of factors, including: investment in green technology, favorable climate, good quality of life, an established work force, friendly environment and people, strong cooperation between the private and public sectors, and statistical data that demonstrates the area is not prone to hurricanes.


According to Breen, European families investing in the U.S., particularly in Florida, is on the upswing as many are accustomed to the practice of owning vacation or second homes. Rather than buying a second home in another European country, they find Florida's values, coupled with the strength of the Euro, a compelling reason to invest "across the pond."


While the U.S. market is attractive, Breen detailed the challenges faced by foreigners in their quest to buy a U.S. property: non-English speakers require interpreters; those that require financing don't have established credit in the U.S. (foreign credit information is not currently recognized or checked by U.S. financial institutions); visas to visit and/or reside in the U.S. can be difficult to obtain and are heavily regulated; and completing a transaction can be lengthy. 


Mandy Morrow, 2010 IREC chairwoman, addressed the important role that Realtors can play as liaisons to international customers, facilitating and providing them with community resources to help them establish businesses, secure a visa, or wire funds into the United States.


NEFAR president Carol Hill says, "International business in Northeast Florida is a market segment in which Realtors are becoming increasingly involved. To best serve the specialized needs of international real estate customers, NEFAR's International Real Estate Council is working hard to gain all available market knowledge, as well as engaging in specialized training such as the Certified International Property Specialist designation program."


The International Real Estate Council is a division of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors. NEFAR provides professional development, political advocacy, professional standards administration, media relations, and promotional activities and exchange of information among its members. NEFAR serves as the voice for real estate in northeast Florida; serving the public through efforts to protect private property rights and community affairs programs. NEFAR is Northeast Florida's largest professional association, comprising more than 5,500 members working in all facets of the real estate industry, including residential and commercial sales as well as property management. NEFAR is headquartered in Jacksonville, with satellite Service Centers in Orange Park, Jacksonville Beach, Palatka and World Golf Village.


# # #



1 - IREC Chairwoman Amanda (Mandy) Morrow welcomes Mike Breen to NEFAR.

2 - IREC group hears from Mike Breen.