The National Association of REALTORS® 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity Report was just released. Overall, it seems that international buyers continue to see the U.S. as a desirable place to own property and make a profitable investment. The survey asked REALTORS® to report their international business activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2012.
Some of the report highlights include:
- Total residential international sales in the U.S. for the past year ending March 2012 equaled $82.4 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2011.
- Total international sales were evenly split between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants.
- International buyers bought homes throughout the country, but four states accounted for 51 percent of the purchases –Florida has been the fastest growing destination of choice, accounting for 26 percent of foreign purchases.
- Proximity to the home country, the presence of relatives and friends, the convenience of air transportation, and climate and location are all important considerations to prospective foreign buyers.
- Florida attracts a diverse set of international buyers including South Americans, Europeans and Canadians.
- International buyers came from all over the globe, but Canada, China (The People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong), Mexico, India, and the United Kingdom accounted for 55 percent of all international transactions, according to the survey.
- Canada and China remain the fastest-growing home countries. Canada accounted for 24 percent of international sales while China accounted for 11 percent, up from nine percent in 2011. Mexico was third with eight percent of sales and India and the U.K. both accounted for six percent.
Forty-five percent of international purchases were under $250,000. In addition, there appears to be a gradual increasing trend toward purchases in the $250,000 to $500,000 price range. In 2012 this range accounted for 30 percent of purchases, up from 28 percent in 2011. The average price paid by an international buyer was $400,000 compared to the overall U.S. average of $212,000. Sixty-two percent of international purchases were all cash, which has increased since 2007.
REALTORS’® specialization on the buyer’s side of the market – such as foreign language capabilities, cultural affinity or orientation with the prospective purchaser and experience in explaining the U.S. real estate – appear to be important in working with foreign buyers.
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