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Foreign U.S. home sales dollar volume surges 49 percent

Staff Writer |
Fueled by a substantial increase in sales dollar volume from Canadian buyers, foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate skyrocketed to a new high.

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Transactions grew in each of the top five countries where buyers originated.

This is according to an annual survey of residential purchases from international buyers released today by the National Association of Realtors, which also revealed that nearly half of all foreign sales were in three states: Florida, Californiaand Texas.

NAR's 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, found that between April 2016 and March 2017, foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased $153.0 billion of residential property, which is a 49 percent jump from 2016 ($102.6 billion) and surpasses 2015 ($103.9 billion) as the new survey high1.

Overall, 284,455 U.S. properties were bought by foreign buyers (up 32 percent from 2016), and purchases accounted for 10 percent of the dollar volume of existing-home sales (7 percent in 2016).

Although China maintained its top position in sales dollar volume for the fourth straight year, the significant rise in foreign investment in the survey came from a massive hike in activity from Canadian buyers.

After dipping in the 2016 survey to $8.9 billion in sales ($11.2 billion in 2015), transactions from Canadians this year totaled $19.0 billion – a new high for Canada.

Foreign buyers typically paid $302,290, which was a 9.0 percent increase from the median sales price in the 2016 survey ($277,380) and above the sales price of all existing homes sold during the same period ($235,792).

Approximately10 percent of foreign buyers paid over $1 million, and 44 percent of transactions were all-cash purchases (50 percent in 2016).

Buyers from China exceeded all countries by dollar volume of sales at $31.7 billion, which was up from last year's survey ($27.3 billion) and topped 2015 ($28.6 billion) as the new survey high. Chinese buyers also purchased the most housing units for the third consecutive year (40,572; up from 29,195 in 2016).

Rounding out the top five, the sales dollar volume from buyers in Canada ($19.0 billion), the United Kingdom ($9.5 billion), Mexico ($9.3 billion) and India ($7.8 billion) all increased from their levels one year ago.

This year's survey once again revealed that foreign buying activity is mostly confined to three states, as Florida (22 percent), California (12 percent) and Texas (12 percent) maintained their position as the top destinations for foreigners, followed by New Jersey and Arizona (each at 4 percent).

Florida was the most popular state for Canadian buyers, Chinese buyers mostly chose California, and Texas was the preferred state for Mexican buyers.

Sales to resident foreigners and non-residents each reach new peak.


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