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Foreign buyers purchased $54.4 billion worth of U.S. existing homes from April 2020 through March 2021, according to a new report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). This is a 27% decrease YoY—the fourth consecutive annual decline.

The data is based on NAR’s 2021 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate, which surveyed members about transactions with international clients who purchased and sold U.S. residential property from April 2020 through March 2021.

By the numbers:

– International buyers accounted for 2.8% of the $5.8 trillion in existing-home sales during that time period.

– Foreign buyers purchased 107,000 properties, down 31% YoY.

– The dollar and sales volumes are the lowest since 2011, when those figures were $66.4 billion and 210,800 properties, respectively.

– The median existing-home sales price for international buyers was $351,80—15% higher than the $305,500 median price for all existing homes sold in the U.S.

– China and Canada top the list in U.S. residential sales dollar volume at $4.5 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively—a trend that goes back to 2013. India ($3.1 billion), Mexico ($2.9 billion) and the United Kingdom ($2.7 billion) rounded out the top five.

– Foreign buyers who lived abroad purchased $22 billion worth of existing homes, down 33% YoY and accounting for 40% of the dollar volume.

The takeaway:

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a weakened global economic response and a decline in international tourist and business arrivals.

“The big decline in foreign purchases of homes in the U.S. in the past year is no surprise, given the pandemic-induced lockdowns and international travel restrictions,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Yet, even with the absence of foreign buyers, the U.S. housing market strengthened solidly.”

“As travel restrictions loosen and foreign students return to U.S. colleges in the upcoming year, there is likely to be some growth in foreign buying of U.S. real estate,” Yun added. “High home prices and the ongoing lack of inventory could, however, pose a challenge for buyers.”

“Driving economic development through our work to foster diverse and inclusive communities remains a top priority for NAR,” said Katie Johnson, NAR’s general counsel and chief member experience officer. “Our association collaborates with groups across the country to educate foreign buyers on the opportunities in U.S. real estate and to maximize the global business potential in our local markets. NAR and the REALTOR® brand has grown to a network of more than 100 real estate associations across 85 countries, ensuring stable, accessible markets that allow our members to make direct connections with global real estate professionals and sources of foreign investment.”

View the full report here.

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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