Unprecedented numbers of international buyers have been throwing money into the US housing market, according to this month’s newsletter from RealtyTrac.
Total US home sales to foreign buyers amounted to $104 billion for the year ending in March 2015, up from $92.2 in the same period in 2014, and $39 billion in 2009. This also marked the first time Canadians didn’t make up the largest share of foreign home buyers in the US, according to the August Housing News Report, which is based on data from the National Association of Realtors.
Among all these international buyers, it’s Chinese investors who are spending the most on homes in the US. Over a 12-month period ending in March this year, they shelled out $28.6 billion, up from $22 billion last year.
Back in 2000, total Chinese investment in US residential real estate amounted to a meager $50 million.
“From New York to Los Angeles, China’s nouveau riche are going on a housing shopping spree,” wrote Octavio Nuiry, RealtyTrac’s managing editor, in the newsletter.
The surge in Chinese investment has been spurred by worsening conditions in China, the Housing News Report suggested. Concern over the country’s stock market was cited as a contributing factor spurring Chinese investment elsewhere.
So was the possible fall of the country’s communist party, which could have bloody consequences.
“China’s wealthy elites are moving their assets overseas and many are fleeing China or planning to do so soon,” wrote Nuiry, referencing commentary that political scientist David Shambaugh published recently.
US real estate is sought after, the Housing News Report suggested, because it’s “a bargain for Chinese investors compared with real estate prices in China.”
Overall, the billions of dollars Chinese investors pumped into US real estate over the year ending in March 2015 accounted for 16 percent of international home buyers, the newsletter underscores, with Canadians trailing in a close second at 14 percent.
The share of buyers from Mexico followed at 9 percent, and Indian buyers placed fourth at 8 percent.
As for where foreign buyers are choosing to invest, Florida leads the way with a 22 percent share of all foreign buyers and California follows at 16 per cent.
Meanwhile, Texas and Arizona are the third and fourth most popular states for foreign real estate investment, representing shares of 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in the year ending in March.
When foreign buyers do purchase a home, they aren’t typically doing so on the cheap.
“On average, foreign buyers paid $500,000 for a house, compared to the overall U.S. average house price of $256,000 — that’s a difference of $244,000,” the Housing News Report found.