We’re hearing more and more from agents and brokers in the RealtyTrac Agent Network and Broker Network that international buyers are flocking to the U.S. residential real estate market, pulled in by relatively low real estate prices in many areas and the prospect of a safe haven for their cash, among other factors.
“We are experiencing a big resurgence of international buyers in the Southern California luxury home market, especially in coastal areas,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. “Our market has attracted international buyers from all over the world including people from China, Canada, Russia and the United Kingdom who are bringing their money here to invest in second homes.”
Senior Staff Writer Octavio Nuiry covers this trend in more depth in the upcoming April issue of the Foreclosure News Report — including an interview with Sheril Liu, the agent featured in the video below — but we found some interesting trends in RealtyTrac’s very own subscriber data that we wanted to share here.
Comparing 2009 to 2013, overall RealtyTrac subscriber activity from foreign countries has increased 125 percent, with the biggest increases coming in the United Arab Emirates (up 352 percent), Switzerland (up 270 percent) and China (up 254 percent).
When it comes to share of RealtyTrac subscriber activity from foreign countries, the biggest share is Canada (45 percent), followed by the United Kingdom, Australia, China and Mexico.
“The Arizona housing market has a huge influence of Canadian buyers, and since the Canadian dollar is holding steady against our dollar, it continues to be an excellent source of business,” said Gordon Miles, president and COO of Prudential Americana Group, covering the Arizona and Las Vegas, Nev. markets. “Las Vegas, on the other hand, is truly an international market with buyers from Asia, the Middle East and Canada. We’ve also noticed a mix among international buyers. Some purchase big penthouses as vacation properties to enjoy gambling and high-end dining with low property maintenance, while other international buyers are investing in the area and purchasing 10 to 15 homes at once.”
International buyer behavior shifting
“New York has historically been a prime location for international buyers to invest in real estate, but now we are noticing a new type of international buyer,” said Maria Babaev, licensed associate real estate broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, covering the New York City and Long Island markets. “International consumers used to buy apartments in Manhattan and come to the city once or twice a year for shopping and dining. Now international buyers are more interested in the luxury suburbs because they are moving their families here. They now want properties with land, amazing school districts, private country clubs, dining and shopping, and that is what the luxury suburbs of New York really have to offer.”