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Foreign real estate buyers with deep pockets are often blamed for rising US home prices and national inventory shortages.

But the results of a new quarterly survey of over 100 real estate experts and economists sponsored by the listing site Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC, suggests that foreign buyers may not be having a major impact on US home prices.

The survey asked panelists specifically about the impact international buyers were having on the US housing market. And, according the panelists, foreign buyers are having a modest effect on the market, inventory and pricing.

Affordability has been a significant hurdle for many Americans since the financial crisis a decade ago. While housing prices are returning to pre-crisis levels in many markets across the country, construction is lagging making it harder for homebuyers to find a home in their price range.

Panelists surveyed by Pulsenomics for Zillow felt that the level of activity from foreign homebuyers would stay the same or decrease over the next year, indicating that “outside influences aren’t likely to be the most significant driver of the U.S. housing market over the next year.”

“Domestic factors have had a bigger influence on the housing market, much more so than demand from overseas,” says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.

Chief among these factors are the lack of adequate construction levels and more homebuyers entering the market, thanks to aging Millennials. Rising national rents have also made it increasingly difficult for renters to save enough money for a downpayment.

“The fact that economists and experts are revising their expectations upward for future home value growth is a sign that these trends will continue to exert upward pressure on prices going forward,” Gudell says.

Home prices are expected to rise nearly 5 percent over the course of this year, up substantially from the 3.4 percent price growth that panelists predicted in last year’s survey. Forecasted home price growth for next year is more “optimistic” now compared to last year, says Zillow.

It’s interesting to note that panelists did feel that foreign buyers were having a “major” impact at the high end of the market or “luxury” properties (generally priced at $4 million and up).

Some international cities like Vancouver and Paris that have expensive markets have introduced laws limited the amount of foreign homebuying activity. However, 80 percent of panelists felt that these measures were ineffective and possibly even counterproductive.

Click here to read the entire report.

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