All Things Real Estate: Who are the outside purchasers of U.S. real estate?

All Things Real Estate: Who are the outside purchasers of U.S. real estate?

We still have the largest economy on the globe and are still the Promised Land for the immigrants who desire to come here legally, whether for education, jobs or just to relocate permanently.  However, we also have a very serious illegal immigration problem and it is not being addressed in the proper fashion as both parties are at loggerheads in how to resolve and deal with the issues.

The people who are able to immigrate here see the vast array of possibilities and opportunities that they cannot obtain sufficiently in their own countries.  Our doors seem to be always open for those who have the money and capabilities to invest in a vast pool of quality real estate, whether they are residential or commercial.

The 2023 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate was performed by the National Association of Realtors (1.4 million brokers and agents).  The survey focused on Realtor transactions with international clients who bought and sold U.S. residential properties between April 2022 and March 2023.  The compilation of this information was derived from an online survey from April 3, 2023 to May 8, 2023.

The siurvey was sent out arbitrarily to 150,000 selected Realtors and to members of local associations who also conducted their own surveys of foreign buyers.  It was created by NAR to keep a balance of the actual numbers of its members by each state as of May 2023.   The results came from 7,425 Realtor (a “Realtor” was anyone who was part of a local real estate board in good standing) responses of which 951 reported completing a transaction with an international purchaser.  Attributes of those international clients were based on the most recently closed transactions of those responding over that 12-month time span.

There were two types of international buyers:

  • Non-residential foreigners, e.g., non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside of the U.S.
  • Resident foreigners, e.g.,non U.S. citizens who are recent immigrants who were less than two years at the time of the sale); or non-immigrant visa holders who had resided for more than six months in the U.S. for professional, educational, or other reasons.

The study is quite long and there is not enough space in this column to provide all the details,so I will highlight the most crucial statistics which I believe are the most important:

  • There was a $53.3 billion volume of foreign buyer residential purchases during April 2022-March 2023. This was 2.3% of the $2.3 trillion of the total dollar of existing home sales.
  • 84,600 foreign buyer home purchases (1.8% of 4.73 million existing-home sales)
  • 51% foreign buyers who resided in the U.S. (recent immigrants: < 2 years at time of sale or non-immigrant visa holders)
  • $396,400 median purchase price(compared to $384,200 for all U.S. existing homes sold)
  • 42% of foreign buyers paid cash (compared to 26% among all existing home buyers
  • 50 foreign buyers who bought for a vacation home, rental, or both (compared to 16% of all existing buyers)

In the past, Canada was always the No. 1 country whose people had put their money into U.S. real estate.  Over the years there have been some drastic changes.  When the survey was completed the information was analyzed and the following showed who purchased the most residential property:

  • Chinese buyers made up 13% ($13.6 billion)
  • Mexico (11% of foreign buyers, 4.2 billion)
  • Canada (10% of foreign buyers, $6.6 billion)
  • India (7% of foreign buyers, $3.4 billion)
  • Colombia (3% of foreign buyers, $0.9 billion)

The top destinations were as follows:

  • Florida (23%)
  • California (12%)
  • Texas (12%)
  • North Carolina (4%)
  • Arizona (4%)

So you can see that foreign purchasers were and are a very integral part of our real estate economy.  Besides those purchases, they also buy other items, like refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers etc. that add to our overall economic activity.  Foreigners know the value of owning residential property in the U.S. and the freedoms that are enjoyed here without government interference in their daily lives.

They are able to start businesses here with the least amount of hassle and delays.  Our legal immigrants and foreign nationals are a multifaceted group and owning residential real estate in the U.S. is coveted as an extremely valuable asset in creating and expanding their wealth.  It is a safety net in the challenging and tumultuous world that we live in.


Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. For a free 15-minute consultation, value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: [email protected] or via https://WWW.Li-RealEstate.Com

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