U.S. housing sees $16B uptick in foreign buys

May 19, 2011 09:33AM

Foreign buying in U.S. residential real estate surged by $16 billion this year, with both international investors and recent immigrants from 70 different countries taking new residences across the country, according to a new report by the National Association of Realtors.

Total international sales of U.S. homes rose to $82 billion for the 12 months that ended in March 2011, the report says, up from $66 billion in the previous 12-month period. Overall, U.S. residential sales totaled $1.07 trillion during the year.

Canadians dominated the foreign buying pool, accounting for 23 percent of international sales, while China was the second most frequent country of origin, with 9 percent. Other buyers commonly originated from Mexico, the United Kingdom, India, Argentina and Brazil.

Foreign buyers paid an average of $315,000 for their new homes, well above the $218,000 paid by the average domestic buyer in the U.S. Still, 45 percent of foreign buyers paid less than $200,000 for their homes — an indication that interest from certain countries in U.S. real estate is up thanks to the strengthening of some foreign currencies, the report says.

The most popular destinations for foreign buyers were, in order, Florida, California, Texas and Arizona, which have held those top four spots for the past five years. TRD