International buyers purchased $59 billion worth of U.S. residential properties from April 2021–March 2022, up 8.5% from the previous year and breaking a three-year streak of declines.
According to the National Association of Realtors, foreign buyers are increasingly taking advantage of the opportunities available in U.S. residential real estate markets, with purchase activity continuing to remain strong despite rising interest rates and travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
In 2021, foreign buyers spent a total of $77 billion on existing single-family homes and condominiums in the United
States, according to a new report from the National Association of REALTORS®. This is 7% higher than in 2020 and the second-highest level since NAR began tracking international activity in 2007.
China ranked first among foreign buyers with 21% of all residential property purchased by international buyers, followed by Mexico (14%), Canada (13%), India (7%), and the United Kingdom (6%). Of these countries, China experienced the largest year-over-year growth in purchase activity, up 27%.
Foreign buyers are often able to close transactions faster than U.S. buyers due to their preference for all-cash transactions. Of the international buyers surveyed for this report, 28% paid in cash, higher than the 26% cash-purchasing rate of American buyers. This trend was seen across most countries, with Chinese and Mexican buyers being the most likely to purchase in all-cash at 58% and 27%, respectively.
The majority of foreign buyers (72%) cited the underlying strength of the U.S. economy as the primary reason for their purchase, followed by favorable exchange rates and safety from political upheaval in their home countries. Low mortgage interest rates were also a major factor for foreign buyers, with 60% citing them as a primary motivation for purchasing property in the United States.
Foreign buyers are most likely to purchase detached single-family homes and townhouses, with some opting for condominiums, multi-family properties, or both. Approximately two-thirds of international buyers (64%) purchased detached single-family homes and townhouses. Nearly half of the international buyers (46%) purchased a home in the suburbs, while 43% purchased in an urban area and 11% purchased in a resort area.
The median purchase price for international buyers remains higher than that of U.S. buyers, at $349,600 compared to $230,000 for domestic purchases. This is especially true for Chinese buyers, who have the highest median price of $517,400.
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