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Bitcoin becoming more popular for real estate sales

Finance Markets / Market Trends

United States of America

Jan 27 2018

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PropGo Luxury

Bitcoin fever has hit the U.S. real estate market, especially that of Florida, offering foreign investors a way to dodge currency controls at home and U.S. economic sanctions.

As of the end of last year, the digital currency was listed as a way to pay for some 75 properties for sale, especially in south Florida and California, according to the real estate firm Redfin.

“Bitcoin accepted” is a message now seen in the description of homes for sale in the Miami area.

One seller is going even farther, saying he will take only bitcoins for his $500,000 downtown condo in the Florida metropolis.

Bitcoin has been on a roller coaster ride of late, shooting up to nearly $20,000 a piece in mid-December and then dropping sharply around Christmas. It started the year at around $14,000.

Its use in real estate transactions is novel, and agents are wary because of its high volatility.

“I’d be blown away if a year from now we see hundreds of real estate transactions in bitcoins,” said Jay Parker, Florida CEO for the Douglas Elliman brokerage agency.

Still, such transactions can be useful for foreign people who want to invest in the United States and cannot otherwise do so, said economist and bitcoin expert Charles Evans of Barry University.

“This seems to be driven by international investors who are circumventing inefficient banking and currency controls at home, and by U.S. cryptocurrency enthusiasts,” Evans said.

“The governments in those countries restrict the amount of money that their residents are allowed to transfer abroad through the banking system. Bitcoin enables individuals there to bypass such restrictions,” he added.

Bitcoin offers another advantage for some foreign investors: It lets them dodge U.S. economic sanctions.

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