Realtors reported seeing a long-term increase in the percent of home buyers that are out of the U.S., according to a recent property data report. Though the amount of real-estate sales that is attributed to foreign buyers fluctuates with economies abroad and the availability of national credit, it appears that an uptick of international home sales was reflected in the 12 month period ending in March from recent years.
The price volume of sales to foreign home buyers reached $68.2 billion in that time span, according to the National Association of Realtors 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. While this is a year-over-year decrease from 2012, it is the second highest level in recent years. The report attributed the slip, which was by roughly $14 billion, to struggling foreign economies in major countries, the unavailability of U.S. credit and unfavorable exchange rates. Despite this, Realtors reported that international investors' interest in national properties continued to grow.
"Foreign buyers are experiencing hurdles not only abroad, but also here in the U.S. when it comes to purchasing property," said Gary Thomas, president of the NAR. "Difficult economic conditions, particularly in Europe, have impacted foreign buyers, but several factors in the U.S. have also affected their purchasing power here."
Thomas went on to note that none of the factors, which included tight credit standards and low housing inventories, seemed permanent.
International real-estate investors prefer sunny states
Foreign investors show a significant pattern when it comes to choosing a location in which to buy property. The property data report revealed that international interest is highly concentrated in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas and New York. An increase in home prices has prompted investors, both national and otherwise, to purchase homes before the index climbs any higher. Jed Smith, an economist with the NAR, noted that Canadian buyers, who account for almost 25 percent of international property investors, are particularly drawn to Florida and Arizona markets.
The pattern seems to be that foreign home buyers are looking for vacation homes in sunny states. The report noted that Realtors in such states are using this knowledge to their advantage by directing advertising to an international demographic.
In descending order, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, France, India, Germany and Ecuador are the top foreign countries for consumers looking at South Florida properties online, according to a report from the Miami Association of Realtors.