Real Estate Outlook: International Boom
by Carla Hill
Monday, July 02, 2012
The latest National Association of Realtors 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity found that residential international sales rose from $66.4 billion in 2011 to $82.5 billion for the year ending in March 2012.
"Today’s advantageous market conditions have drawn more and more foreign buyers to the U.S. in recent years, signaling how desirable and profitable owning property in this country can be," said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates, Inc. in Miami, Fla. "Low housing prices, a good inventory condition and increased buying power with today’s exchange rates help attract international clients. Foreign buyers also have the advantage of working with a Realtor®. Realtors® who specialize in serving international clientele have a truly global perspective; they know what hurdles foreign buyers face when purchasing property in the U.S., and have the expertise and knowledge that comes from working with clients from different cultures and real estate practices."
Several areas attracted more international interest than others. The NAR survey found that Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona led the way. Florida was a hub of activity, making up 26 per cent of all foreign purchases nationwide. California came in a close second, accounting for 11 percent of all foreign purchases.
The survey found that European buyers were attracted to East Coast locations, while Asian buyers tended to pursue homes on the West Coast. Demographics were mixed for areas such as Florida and Texas. Texas was a popular buying ground for Mexican buyers, while Florida found interest among South Americans, Europeans, and Canadians.
Leading the way in foreign purchases by country was Canada, followed by China. Canada accounted for 24 percent of international sales while China accounted for 11 percent, up from nine percent in 2011. Mexico was third with eight percent of sales and India and the U.K. both accounted for six percent.
"Foreign buyers recognize that owning a home in the U.S. has many benefits, both financial and social," said Veissi. "Many purchase property as an investment, vacation home, or to diversify their portfolio. In addition, many recent immigrants view homeownership as an important accomplishment. They believe that being a homeowner is one of many ways they become established in the U.S. and attain stability, security, and a sense of community."
These are not all vacation properties, either. Many of the homes purchased were bought as primary residences.
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