Magazine article Mortgage Banking

NAR: Foreign Home-Buyers a 'Significant Share' of Business

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

NAR: Foreign Home-Buyers a 'Significant Share' of Business

Article excerpt

International real estate purchases in the United States continued to account for a significant share of business for many real estate agents over the last year, according to the National Association of Realtors[R] (NAR), Chicago.

The 2008 National Association of Realtors Profile of International Home Buying Activity estimated that between 150,000 and 190,000 homes were sold to foreign nationals from May 2007 to May 2008.

Although recent foreign buyers purchased properties in every state and the District of Columbia, the most popular states where they purchased homes were Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, New York, Washington and Nevada, according to NAR President Richard F. Gaylord.

The typical international buyer purchased a single-family vacation home costing $297,400, Four in 10 paid for their U.S. property with cash, compared with 7 percent for all domestic buyers. The typical international owner stayed at his or her U.S. property for 2.6 months during the year, according to the NAR survey findings.

Foreign exchange rates have helped make U.S. homes more affordable for international buyers. The euro, for example, has strengthened 24 percent versus the U.S. dollar over the past two years, explained Gaylord. Home prices are also now more affordable in places such as Florida and Arizona, contributing to those states' popularity among foreign buyers, explained Gaylord.

"Many international buyers recognize that real estate is an excellent investment and are drawn today by abundant inventory, low interest rates and a softer dollar," said Gaylord. …

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