Foreign U.S. Home Sales Dollar Volume Surges 49 Percent to Record $153 Billion

Washington, D.C. July 18, 2017 (nar.realtor) Fueled by a substantial increase in sales dollar volume from Canadian buyers, foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate skyrocketed to a new high, as transactions grew in each of the top five countries where buyers originated.

This is according to an annual survey of residential purchases from international buyers released today by the National Association of Realtors ®, which also revealed that nearly half of all foreign sales were in three states: Florida, California and Texas.

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NAR’s 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, https://www.nar.realtor/topics/profile-of-international-home-buying-activity, found that between April 2016 and March 2017, foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased $153.0 billion of residential property, which is a 49 percent jump from 2016 ($102.6 billion) and surpasses 2015 ($103.9 billion) as the new survey high(1). Overall, 284,455 U.S. properties were bought by foreign buyers (up 32 percent from 2016), and purchases accounted for 10 percent of the dollar volume of existing-home sales (8 percent in 2016).

“The political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad did not deter foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of U.S. property over the past year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “While the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home-price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the U.S. is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest.”

Although China maintained its top position in sales dollar volume for the fourth straight year, the significant rise in foreign investment in the survey came from a massive hike in activity from Canadian buyers. After dipping in the 2016 survey to $8.9 billion in sales ($11.2 billion in 2015), transactions from Canadians this year totaled $19.0 billion – a new high for Canada.

Yun attributes this notable rise in activity to Canadians opting to buy property in U.S. markets that are expensive but still more affordable than in their native land. While much of the U.S. continues to see fast price growth, home price gains in many cities in Canada have been steeper, especially in Vancouver and Toronto.

“Inventory shortages continue to drive up U.S. home values, but prices in five countries, including Canada, experienced even quicker appreciation(2),” said Yun. “Some of the acceleration in foreign purchases over the past year appears to come from the combination of more affordable property choices in the U.S. and foreigners deciding to buy now knowing that any further weakening of their local currency against the dollar will make buying more expensive in the future.”

Foreign buyers typically paid $302,290, which was a 9.0 percent increase from the median sales price in the 2016 survey ($277,380) and above the sales price of all existing homes sold during the same period ($235,792). Approximately 10 percent of foreign buyers paid over $1 million, and 44 percent of transactions were all-cash purchases (50 percent in 2016).

Foreign sales rise in top five countries; three states account for nearly half of all purchases

Buyers from China exceeded all countries by dollar volume of sales at $31.7 billion, which was up from last year’s survey ($27.3 billion) and topped 2015 ($28.6 billion) as the new survey high. Chinese buyers also purchased the most housing units for the third consecutive year (40,572; up from 29,195 in 2016).

Rounding out the top five, the sales dollar volume from buyers in Canada ($19.0 billion), the United Kingdom ($9.5 billion), Mexico ($9.3 billion) and India ($7.8 billion) all increased from their levels one year ago.

This year’s survey once again revealed that foreign buying activity is mostly confined to three states, as Florida (22 percent), California (12 percent) and Texas (12 percent) maintained their position as the top destinations for foreigners, followed by New Jersey and Arizona (each at 4 percent). Florida was the most popular state for Canadian buyers, Chinese buyers mostly chose California, and Texas was the preferred state for Mexican buyers.

Sales to resident foreigners and non-residents each reach new peak

The upswing in foreign investment came from both recent immigrants and non-resident foreign buyers(3) as each increased substantially to new highs. Sales to foreigners residing in the U.S. reached $78.1 billion (up 32 percent from 2016) and non-resident foreign sales spiked to $74.9 billion (up 72 percent from 2016).

“Although non-resident foreign purchases climbed over the past year, it appears much of the activity occurred during the second half of 2016,” said Yun. “Realtors® in some markets are reporting that the effect of tighter regulations on capital outflows in China and weaker currencies in Canada and the U.K. have somewhat cooled non-resident foreign buyer interest in early 2017.”

Looking ahead, Yun believes the gradually expanding U.S. and global economies should keep foreign buyer demand at a robust level. However, it remains to be seen if both the shortage of homes for sale and economic and political headwinds end up curbing sales activity to foreigners.

“Stricter foreign government regulations and the current uncertainty on policy surrounding U.S. immigration and international trade policy could very well lead to a slowdown in foreign investment,” said Yun.

NAR’s 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, conducted April 10 through May 1, surveyed a sample of Realtors ® to measure the share of U.S. residential real estate sales to international clients, and to provide a profile of the origin, destination, and buying preferences of international clients, as well as the challenges and opportunities faced by Realtors® in serving foreign clients. The survey presents information about transactions with international clients during the 12-month period between April 2016 and March 2017. A total of 5,998 Realtors® responded to the 2017 survey.

The 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate can be ordered by calling 800-874-6500, or online at www.nar.realtor/prodser.nsf/Research. The report is free to NAR members and accredited media and costs $149.95 for non-members.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1. NAR’s international survey began in 2009.

2. Canada, the United Kingdom, China, Germany and Mexico all had higher appreciation in real terms than the U.S.

3. The term international or foreign client refers to two types of clients: non-resident foreigners (Type A) and resident foreigners (Type B).

Non-resident foreigners: Non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the United States. These clients typically purchase property as an investment, for vacations, or other visits of less than six months to the United States.

Resident foreigners: Non-U.S. citizens who are recent immigrants (in the country less than two years at the time of the transaction) or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the United States for professional, educational, or other reasons.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

Foreign Buyers and Immigration Expected to Drive Future Demand for U.S. Housing

Washington, D.C. – May 19, 2017 (nar.realtor) U.S. real estate markets are increasingly becoming international, and changing demographics brought forth by immigration and growing interest from foreigners are positioned to bolster home sales activity and prices. That’s according to speakers at an international real estate forum organized by the REALTOR® University Richard J. Rosenthal Center for Real Estate Studies session here at the 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

NAR logo

NAR’s Danielle Hale, managing director of housing research, was joined by Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute, to share insight on the current and future impact of foreign buyers and immigration on the U.S. housing market.

According to Nowrasteh, the rising U.S. population is being bolstered by a growing number of immigrant households, and their presence will continue to transform the housing market. Referring to data from the 2015 American Community Survey, Nowrasteh said of the roughly 321.4 million residents in the U.S., 278.1 million are born here (natives) and the remaining 43.3 million – made up of 20.7 million naturalized citizens and 22.6 million non-citizens – are foreign-born.

“Immigration affects rents and home prices far more than it affects the labor market,” said Nowrasteh. “An expected 1 percent increase in a city’s population produces a 1 percent uptick in rents, while an unexpected increase results in a 3.75 percent rise.”

Nowrasteh, pointing to studies conducted on immigration and housing, explained that the effects of immigration on real estate are localized, with most of the impact felt where immigrants tend to reside: low-to-middle income counties. Each immigrant adds 11.6 cents to housing value within that county. In 2012, 40 million immigrants added roughly $3.7 trillion to U.S. housing wealth.

Referencing the Legal Arizona Workers Act that went into effect on January 1, 2008, Nowrasteh said the decline in population resulting from the law likely exasperated the drop in home prices the state experienced during the downturn. Fewer households purchasing or renting property subsequently lead to higher vacancies and lower prices. “Immigration is the best way to increase population, housing supply and prices,” he said.

Presenting some of the key findings from NAR’s 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate released last July, Hale said foreigners increasingly view the U.S. as a great place to buy and invest in real estate. She noted the upward trend in sales activity from resident and non-resident foreign buyers(1) in the past seven years, with total foreign buyer transactions increasing from $65.9 billion in 2010 to $102.6 billion in the latest survey.

“A majority of foreign buyers in recent years are coming from China, which surpassed Canada as the top country by dollar volume of sales in 2013 and total sales 2015,” said Hale. “Foreign buyers on average purchase more expensive homes than U.S. residents and are more likely to pay in cash.”

Perhaps foreshadowing where a bulk of future home purchases from immigrants will come from, Hale said that in NAR’s latest survey roughly over half of all foreign buyers purchased property in Florida (22 percent), California (15 percent), Texas (10 percent), Arizona or New York (each at 4 percent). Latin Americans, Europeans and Canadians – who tend to buy for vacation purposes in warm climates – mostly sought properties in Florida and Arizona. Asian buyers were most attracted to California and New York, while Texas mostly saw sales activity from Latin American, Caribbean and Asian buyers.

NAR’s 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate survey is scheduled for release this summer. Looking at the past year, Hale said monthly data from the Realtors® Confidence Index revealed a rise in responses from Realtors® indicating they worked with an international buyer.

“Chinese buyers are once again expected to top all countries in both total dollar volume and overall sales,” said Hale.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1. The term international or foreign client refers to two types of clients: non-resident foreigners (Type A) and resident foreigners (Type B).

Non-resident foreigners: Non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the United States. These clients typically purchase property as an investment, for vacations, or other visits of less than six months to the United States.

Resident foreigners: Non-U.S. citizens who are recent immigrants (in the country less than two years at the time of the transaction) or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the United States for professional, educational, or other reasons.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

Foreign Buyers and Immigration Expected to Drive Future Demand for U.S. Housing

Washington, D.C. – May 19, 2017 (nar.realtor) U.S. real estate markets are increasingly becoming international, and changing demographics brought forth by immigration and growing interest from foreigners are positioned to bolster home sales activity and prices. That’s according to speakers at an international real estate forum organized by the REALTOR® University Richard J. Rosenthal Center for Real Estate Studies session here at the 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

NAR logo

NAR’s Danielle Hale, managing director of housing research, was joined by Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute, to share insight on the current and future impact of foreign buyers and immigration on the U.S. housing market.

According to Nowrasteh, the rising U.S. population is being bolstered by a growing number of immigrant households, and their presence will continue to transform the housing market. Referring to data from the 2015 American Community Survey, Nowrasteh said of the roughly 321.4 million residents in the U.S., 278.1 million are born here (natives) and the remaining 43.3 million – made up of 20.7 million naturalized citizens and 22.6 million non-citizens – are foreign-born.

“Immigration affects rents and home prices far more than it affects the labor market,” said Nowrasteh. “An expected 1 percent increase in a city’s population produces a 1 percent uptick in rents, while an unexpected increase results in a 3.75 percent rise.”

Nowrasteh, pointing to studies conducted on immigration and housing, explained that the effects of immigration on real estate are localized, with most of the impact felt where immigrants tend to reside: low-to-middle income counties. Each immigrant adds 11.6 cents to housing value within that county. In 2012, 40 million immigrants added roughly $3.7 trillion to U.S. housing wealth.

Referencing the Legal Arizona Workers Act that went into effect on January 1, 2008, Nowrasteh said the decline in population resulting from the law likely exasperated the drop in home prices the state experienced during the downturn. Fewer households purchasing or renting property subsequently lead to higher vacancies and lower prices. “Immigration is the best way to increase population, housing supply and prices,” he said.

Presenting some of the key findings from NAR’s 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate released last July, Hale said foreigners increasingly view the U.S. as a great place to buy and invest in real estate. She noted the upward trend in sales activity from resident and non-resident foreign buyers(1) in the past seven years, with total foreign buyer transactions increasing from $65.9 billion in 2010 to $102.6 billion in the latest survey.

“A majority of foreign buyers in recent years are coming from China, which surpassed Canada as the top country by dollar volume of sales in 2013 and total sales 2015,” said Hale. “Foreign buyers on average purchase more expensive homes than U.S. residents and are more likely to pay in cash.”

Perhaps foreshadowing where a bulk of future home purchases from immigrants will come from, Hale said that in NAR’s latest survey roughly over half of all foreign buyers purchased property in Florida (22 percent), California (15 percent), Texas (10 percent), Arizona or New York (each at 4 percent). Latin Americans, Europeans and Canadians – who tend to buy for vacation purposes in warm climates – mostly sought properties in Florida and Arizona. Asian buyers were most attracted to California and New York, while Texas mostly saw sales activity from Latin American, Caribbean and Asian buyers.

NAR’s 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate survey is scheduled for release this summer. Looking at the past year, Hale said monthly data from the Realtors® Confidence Index revealed a rise in responses from Realtors® indicating they worked with an international buyer.

“Chinese buyers are once again expected to top all countries in both total dollar volume and overall sales,” said Hale.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

1. The term international or foreign client refers to two types of clients: non-resident foreigners (Type A) and resident foreigners (Type B).

Non-resident foreigners: Non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the United States. These clients typically purchase property as an investment, for vacations, or other visits of less than six months to the United States.

Resident foreigners: Non-U.S. citizens who are recent immigrants (in the country less than two years at the time of the transaction) or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the United States for professional, educational, or other reasons.

Media Contact:

Adam DeSanctis
(202) 383-1178
Email

D.C. Real Estate Continues Steady Decline among Foreign Investors as N.Y. Deposes London as Top Global City

Washington, D.C – Jan. 6, 2015 (PRNewswire) Washington, D.C. continues to fall from favor among foreign real estate investors according to the 23rd Annual Survey taken among the members of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) and released today. This year Washington was at the bottom of the five-city U.S. ranking; it ranked fifteenth among global cities, down from last year when it was tenth-ranked. Conversely, New York has returned to its long-held slots as both the #1 global and #1 U.S. city. With the exception of last year, when London nudged it into second place, New York has held the top rank, both globally and among U.S. cities, since 2010.

AFIRE

AFIRE member firms have an estimated $2 trillion or more in real estate assets under management globally. The survey, was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2014 by the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, Wisconsin School of Business.

“For foreign investors, the allure of Washington, D.C. never fades,” said James A. Fetgatter, Chief Executive, AFIRE. “But unlike other cities which currently have technology and energy drivers, D.C. mostly depends on the U.S. government to keep occupancy in balance; given the current situation, Washington area real estate is the short-term, unintended victim of Federal budget tightening. On a long-term basis, Washington, as the capital city of the free world, remains a very attractive opportunity.”

U.S. a Magnet for Foreign Investment

  • More than 90% of survey respondents say they plan to maintain or increase the size of their U.S. portfolio in 2015.
  • By a wide margin, the U.S. was voted the most stable and secure country for investment, outstripping both second-place Germany by 55 percentage points, and third-place U.K. by 60 percentage points.
  • The U.S. also offers the best opportunity for capital appreciation, out-performing second-place Spain by 34 percentage points and third-place U.K. by 40 percentage points.
  • Two-thirds of survey respondents expect China to become the largest source of capital into the U.S.in 2016 and beyond; ten percent expect that could happen as early as 2015. Seventy-two percent of survey respondents said they expected this investment to be a long-term, permanent inflow.

“As it periodically has been in the past, the United States is currently the target of much of the foreign investment in real estate globally,” said Thomas Arnold, Head of Americas – Real Estate Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Chairman, AFIRE. “With a stable and transparent market and an economy that appears to be steadily improving without the fits and starts experienced in other regions, the U.S. has become the first stop for foreign real estate investors. And with the continued creation of wealth in China, it is not surprising that they, along with other nationalities, are voting with their ‘dollars.'”

U.S. Property Trends

  • Investors ranked multi-family as their preferred property type followed by industrial, office, retail, and hotel.
  • Within the multifamily category, 74% of respondents said that mid- and high-rise apartments faced a low risk of obsolescence due to demographic and technological changes; only 42% of respondents said that garden apartments shared the same low risk.
  • Similarly, 48% of respondents indicated that CBD office buildings shared a low risk of obsolescence while only 5% of respondents said suburban office buildings were in the low-risk category.

Global Trends

Two new cities, Tokyo and Madrid in fourth and five places respectively, emerged among the top five global cities. Last year Tokyo was in fifteenth place and Madrid ranked thirteenth. These cities replaced Houston and Los Angeles. For the second year in a row, Spain also ranked as the second-best country for capital appreciation.

Brazil reclaimed its first-place spot among emerging markets, putting China into second place. Mexico and Chile took third and fourth places. For the first time since the question was asked, Poland was named among investors’ top five emerging countries, tied for fourth place.

Survey Snapshot

Top Five Global Cities

1. New York (#2 last year)
2. London (#1 last year)
3. San Francisco (#3 last year)
4. Tokyo (#6 last year, tied with Madrid)
5. Madrid (#6 last year, tied with Tokyo)

Top Five U.S. Cities

1. New York (#1 last year)
2. San Francisco (#2 last year)
3. Houston (#3 last year)
4. Los Angeles (#5 last year)
5. Washington, DC (#4 last year)

Most Stable and Secure Countries for Foreign Investment

1. United States (#1 last year)
2. Germany (#2 last year, tied with the United Kingdom)
3. United Kingdom (#2 last year, tied with Germany)
4. Canada (#4 last year)
5. Switzerland (#5 last year)

Countries Providing the Best Opportunity for Capital Appreciation

1. United States (#1 last year)
2. Spain (#2 last year)
3. United Kingdom (#3 last year, tied with China)
4. China (# 3 last year, tied with the United Kingdom)
5. Brazil (unranked last year)

Top Five Emerging Countries

1. Brazil (#2 last year)
2. China (#1 last year)
3. Mexico (#3 last year)
4. Chile (#6 last year, tied with Poland)
4. Poland (#6 last year, tied with Chile)

Ranking of U.S. Property Types

1. Multi-family (#4 last year)
2. Industrial (#1 last year)
3. Office (# 2 last year)
4. Retail (#3 last year)
5. Hotel (#5 last Year)

AFIRE members have a common interest in preserving and promoting investment in cross-border real estate. Founded in 1988, AFIRE currently has nearly 200 members representing 21 countries. AFIRE is located at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 312-1400. www.afire.org.

Interviews:

James A. Fetgatter – Chief Executive Officer
jaf@afire.org

Foreign Home Buyers Continue to Identify U.S. as Profitable Investment, Realtors Report

Washington, D.C. – June 24, 2013 (Realtor.org) International home sales in the U.S. declined in the past year, but are at their second highest level in recent years and are over six percent of total existing-home sales in value. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, interest in U.S. properties continues to grow, signaling that America continues to be regarded by international buyers as a great place to own property.

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The survey, which asked Realtors® to report their international business activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2013, showed that total international sales were $68.2 billion, down approximately $14 billion from the previous year. The decline is attributed to a number of temporary factors, including economic slowdowns in a number of major foreign economies, tighter U.S. credit standards and unfavorable exchange rates. Of total international transactions, $34.8 billion (51 percent) were attributed to foreign buyers with permanent residences outside the U.S. and $33.4 billion (49 percent) were attributed to buyers who are recent immigrants or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the U.S.

“Foreign buyers are experiencing hurdles not only abroad, but also here in the U.S. when it comes to purchasing property,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif. “Difficult economic conditions, particularly in Europe, have impacted foreign buyers, but several factors in the U.S. have also affected their purchasing power here. Tight credit standards have made financing challenging for immigrants, and low housing inventories have made finding a house difficult. However, none of these factors appear to be permanent.”

Foreign buyers continue to have a substantial interest in U.S. properties. Over a five year time frame more than 70 percent of Realtors® reported a constant or increasing level in the number of international clients contacting them.

“Realtors® provide international buyers with a significant advantage when purchasing property in the U.S. Realtors® who have earned NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist designation have received specialized training and are well prepared to service the international market,” said Thomas.

Twenty-seven percent of Realtors® reported having worked with international clients this year. The most important factors influencing international clients’ purchases reported by Realtors® were that the U.S. is viewed as a desirable location and that the real estate market is regarded as a profitable investment.

Realtors® reported purchases from 68 countries, but five have historically accounted for the bulk of purchases; Canada (23 percent), China (12 percent), Mexico (8 percent), India (5 percent) and the United Kingdom (5 percent). These five countries accounted for approximately 53 percent of transactions, with Canada and China the fastest growing sources over the years.

Canadian buyers were reported to purchase properties with a median price of $183,000, with the majority purchased in Florida, Arizona and California. Chinese buyers tended to purchase property in the upper price ranges with a median price of $425,000 and typically in California. Sixty-two percent of Mexican buyers purchased property in California and Texas, with a median price of $156,250.

International buyers tend to cluster in specific locations based on countries of origin, as well as several other factors. “Many factors influence foreign buyers’ decisions on where to purchase in the U.S., but the most important are proximity to home country, presence of relatives and friends, availability of job and education opportunities, and the climate,” said Thomas. “International buyers also differ on the type of desired property. Some are looking for trophy properties while others are interested in modest vacation homes.”

Five states made up 61 percent of reported purchases; Florida (23 percent), California (17 percent), Arizona (9 percent), Texas (9 percent) and New York (3 percent). About half of foreign buyers preferred to purchase in a suburban area, while a quarter preferred a more central city/urban area. A majority purchased a detached single-family home and 63 percent used all-cash. Based on the reported international transactions, the mean and median prices of purchases were higher when compared to purchase prices of domestic buyers. For the 12 months ending March 2013 the median international home price was $275,862 and for domestic buyers it was $179,867. The types of homes purchased by international buyers frequently tended to be different from the types of homes purchased by domestic U.S. buyers. International buyers are more likely to be substantially wealthier and looking for a property in a specialized niche.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Media Contact:

Leanne Jernigan
(202) 383-1290
Email