Who Is Buying Real Estate?

Who Is Buying Real Estate?

Five countries accounted for nearly half (49 percent) of the dollar volume of purchases by foreign buyers are China, Canada, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. For the sixth consecutive year, China exceeded all other countries in dollar volume of purchases, buying an estimated $30.4 billion worth of residential property, though that's a decrease of 4 percent from last year.

However, rising home prices and low inventory led to a decline in foreign home purchases in the United States. According to an annual survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), total international sales totaled $121 billion during April 2017 to March 2018, a 21 percent decline from the previous 12-month period.  Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist says "Inventory shortages continue to drive up prices, and sustained job creation and historically low interest rates mean that foreign buyers are now competing with domestic residents for the same limited-supply of homes."

The survey once again showed that foreign buying activity is mostly limited to three states: Florida (19 percent), California (14 percent) and Texas (9 percent) remained the top three destinations for foreign buyers to purchase, followed by Arizona and New York (both 5 percent).

International buyers purchase property for a variety of reasons, the most frequent being a primary residence. Indian buyers were most likely to purchase property as a primary residence, while Canadian buyers were most likely to purchase property as a vacation home. Among the top five purchasing countries, Chinese buyers were most likely to purchase a property for student housing. 

The median price paid by a foreign buyer was $292,400, compared to the median price for all existing homes ($249,300). Chinese buyers continue to purchase the most expensive properties, with a median price of $439,100.

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