By: Stéphanie Hirschenson
Source: Miami Herald
Mention the words “Quebec”, “Florida” and “real estate” in the same sentence and the chances are you envision a mile-long stretch of Hollywood Beach packed with swim-suited bodies. Winter visitors who are more likely to read Le Courrier de Floride or Montreal Gazette than the Miami Herald, eating les crêpes and la poutine instead of hot dogs or empanadas. And diners singing along with Céline Dion instead of Gloria Estefan. Bienvenue! Welcome to Flori-bec!
For more than 50 years, French-speaking Canadians from Quebec have flocked to Hollywood Beach and Hallandale for winter warmth, feeling comfortable there culturally and linguistically. But while these somewhat-cartoonish images carry some truth, many of these visitors have moved elsewhere in South Florida as currencies fluctuate and market trends shift.
As a real estate professional with a 30-year presence in South Florida real estate market combined with my French background, I always found the French-Canadian connection to South Florida intriguing. I would like to share my experiences and observations with the growth and evolution of Miami’s Quebecois “snowbird” homebuyers.
Before winter, they relocate to their Miami and Fort Lauderdale homes and live up to six months here, drawn by Miami’s tropical weather, resort lifestyle and world-class shopping. More than a million Canadians over 55 years old have adopted the “snowbird” lifestyle. At the same time, there are expected to be well over 4 million Canadian tourists — snowbird and non-snowbird alike — this year in Florida, including about 1.2 million Quebecois.