RISMEDIA, February 8, 2011—With international transactions representing a growing share (7%) of the U.S. residential market, REALTOR.com, the nation’s No. 1 homes-for-sale website, is going global. Last year, $66 billion in U.S. residential real estate was sold to foreign buyers and recent immigrants from 53 countries. And over the last 18 months, visits to REALTOR.com have increased significantly, with more than 575,000 unique visitors each month from countries outside the U.S.
“Foreign buyers understand that U.S. real estate is a tremendous value, arguably the best value in a generation,” says REALTOR.com President Errol Samuelson. “We’ve seen significant increases in traffic from non-U.S. users to the website—50% in many countries, so an expansion of the site to make it more accessible to these users makes sense. As an advocate for REALTORS®, who better than REALTOR.com to meet this demand?”
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (NAR’s) official listing website, REALTOR.com, is already the world’s largest online source of residential property listings. Later this year, the website will increase its presence in international markets by expanding exposure to U.S. real estate listings and adding international listings.
With listings seen internationally, it will give REALTORS® a tremendous opportunity to grow their business. “If some of your U.S. buyers are struggling to get a loan, attracting even a handful of international buyers, who are often willing to pay cash, can really help grow your business,” says Janet Branton, senior vice president of NAR’s Global Business & Alliances. According to NAR research, 55% of foreign buyers paid cash, compared to 8% of domestic buyers. The median price paid by foreign buyers was $219,400, which was 26% higher than the national median price.
“International buyers are purchasing property in all 50 states, so opportunities exist everywhere, even in some unlikely markets,” says Branton. “REALTOR.com will help you globalize immediately and position yourself in this marketplace by increasing exposure for listings and referrals.”
Better User Experience
NAR is working closely with Move Inc., a leader in online real estate and operator of REALTOR.com, to enhance the user experience for foreign buyers. New features on REALTOR.com will include language translation and currency conversion tables, making it easier for international consumers to search for listings. “With incredibly timely and accurate data, REALTOR.com will become the trusted destination for foreign buyers,” says Samuelson.
NAR is working actively with its 81 real estate association partners around the globe to support this enhanced functionality. These bilateral partnerships exist in nearly 60 countries to help you establish business and referral opportunities.
Learn How to Go Global at Your Member Website
The key to earning a piece of this $66 billion business is knowing your market. REALTOR.org is NAR’s member website—another resource to help you better understand and reach international buyers. You can learn who is buying or likely to buy in your market by downloading NAR’s state-by-state international business reports, titled “Business Data for Engaging International Real Estate” (www.REALTOR.org/statereports), which are available for free download. You can also download the 2010 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity, which identifies the top five countries of origin for foreign home buyers and how these buyers are utilizing the services of REALTORS®.
REALTOR.org also provides access to a vast number of other resources for the global real estate professional. A complete guide to these resources, 75+ Resources and Services for the Global Real Estate Professional, is available free of charge for download at www.realtor.org/globalbusinessguide.
Another learning opportunity is earning the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Designation. It prepares brokers and agents to service the growing international market in your local communities by focusing on culture, exchange rates, investment trends, and legal issues.
Through the resources and educational opportunities at REALTOR.org and by increasing exposure to your listings through REALTOR.com, you can quickly globalize your reach—and grow your business.