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Breaking: International Cash Buyers Boost Home Sales – Is This Helping the Summer Real Estate Market Heat Up?

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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.”

Where Are Foreign Buyers Buying?

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.

Stay tuned to RISMedia.com for more coverage of the foreign buyer market.

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