STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Due to low prices and the relative weakness of the dollar, international buyers continue to identify the U.S. as a desirable place to own property and make a profitable investment.
According to the National Association of Realtors® 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, total residential international sales in the U.S. for the past year ending March 2012 equaled $82.4 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2011.
Locally, all members of the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR) belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Total international sales were evenly split between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants. The survey asked Realtors® to report their international business activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2012.
“Today’s advantageous market conditions have drawn more and more foreign buyers to the U.S. in recent years, signaling how desirable and profitable owning property in this country can be,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates, Inc. in Miami, Fla.
“Low housing prices, a good inventory condition and increased buying power with today’s exchange rates help attract international clients, Veissi said. “Foreign buyers also have the advantage of working with a Realtor®. Realtors® who specialize in serving international clientele have a truly global perspective; they know what hurdles foreign buyers face when purchasing property in the U.S., and have the expertise and knowledge that comes from working with clients from different cultures and real estate practices.”
International buyers bought homes throughout the country, but four states accounted for 51 percent of the purchases – Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Florida has been the fastest growing destination of choice, accounting for 26 percent of foreign purchases.
California was second with 11 percent and Texas and Arizona accounted for seven percent. Proximity to the home country, the presence of relatives and friends, the convenience of air transportation, and climate and location are all important considerations to prospective foreign buyers.
Locations on the East Coast generally attract European buyers, while Asian buyers tend to purchase on the West Coast, particularly California.
Florida attracts a diverse set of international buyers including South Americans, Europeans and Canadians. Meanwhile, Texas remains popular among Mexican buyers. Within markets in an individual state, it is not unusual to find concentrations of people grouped by nationality.