Land and Real Estate
Just as Kentucky has obtained non-U. S. investment in horses, Alaska in oil production, and Georgia and South Carolina in textiles, so too Florida attracts foreign investors to particular industries and to land and real estate investments because of its climate, geographical location, natural resources, general economy, and popularity as a vacation region. The U. S. Department of Commerce figure of $280 million for foreign direct investment in Florida real estate as of December 1974 was low for that time and is now entirely out of date. Substantial investment has taken place since 1974, and some foreign investors have already sold properties purchased earlier. By 1978, in south Florida, there was continuous media comment on new, existing, or former foreign investments.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U. S. Department of Commerce considers non-U. S. investment in land and real estate to be direct foreign investment. It counts as investment the amount (the dollar sum) that the foreign investor contributes. This definition is in keeping with its approach to all other direct foreign investment. However, land and real estate investments present special issues. Normally, mortgages are involved; 10 per cent down can control 100 per cent of a property. The amount down is what counts as direct foreign investment. The face value of the property is the amount of U. S. dollar value controlled. It is, in common parlance, the "price paid." If the mortgage is held by a foreign investor, it is counted as a "portfolio" investment, not as a direct foreign investment.