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Several Key States Report Increases in International Transactions

With approximately 63 percent of international buyers paying cash for homes, the real estate market is seeing a dramatic increase in international transactions year over year from March 2012 – March 2013.

While international home sales in the U.S. declined in the past year, they are now at their second highest level in recent years and represent more than 6 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 is increasingly regarded by international buyers as a great place to own property.

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NAR President Gary Thomas

“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.”

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.

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