Real Estate

The International Buyer Pool Dropped To A New Low Last Year

Foreign buyers, either noncitizens living in the U.S. or those with permanent homes outside the country, scooped up 98,600 existing homes between April 2021 and March 2022, NAR reports.

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The number of homes bought by foreign buyers dropped for the fifth straight time last year falling to the lowest point since at least 2009, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

Realtors represented foreign buyers in 98,600 existing home purchases between April 2021 and March 2022, or 1.6 percent of the 6 million home sales during that time.

The number of sales to foreign buyers is down 65 percent from its recent peak in 2017, according to the report which is based on a survey of nearly 10,000 Realtors.

“However, the dollar volume of foreign buyer purchases rose to $59 billion, an 8.5 percent increase from the prior period,” the report noted. 

Foreign buyers include non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the U.S. and non-U.S. citizens or visa holders who reside for more than six months in the U.S.

While the number of sales dropped, the dollar volume actually increased as the average price jumped 18 percent from the year before to $598,200. That’s partially due to the increase in home prices in that time.

But foreign buyers were also picking up more expensive homes, the report shows. While the share of purchases fell to 1.6 percent, the sales volume was 2.6 percent of the $2.3 trillion volume of existing home sales.

At a time when 1 in 4 buyers paid in cash, 44 percent of foreign buyers made cash offers. They were more likely to buy a condo and more likely to use their new homes as vacation homes, rentals or both.

“Foreign buyers who live abroad are more likely to make an all-cash purchase compared to foreign buyers who reside in the U.S.,” according to the report. “Sixty percent of non-resident foreign buyers made an all-cash purchase compared to 30 percent among foreign buyers who live in the U.S., with the share rising by six percentage points from the prior period.”

Top states for foreign buyers

  • Florida: 24 percent
  • California: 11 percent
  • Texas: 8 percent
  • Arizona: 7 percent
  • New York: 4 percent
  • North Carolina: 4 percent

Top country of origin

  • Canada: 11 percent
  • Mexico: 8 percent
  • China: 6 percent
  • India: 5 percent
  • Brazil: 3 percent
  • Colombia: 3 percent

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