New Report: U.S. Homes Still Appeal to Foreign Buyers

Despite waning economic growth in many countries and higher home prices further enhanced by a strengthening U.S. dollar, owning a home in the United States is still appealing to foreign buyers.

This is according to an annual survey of residential purchases from international buyers released today by the National Association of REALTORS®. Some highlights from the report:

  • Foreign buyers purchased $102.6 billion of U.S. residential property (a 1.3 percent decline from last year)
  • A total of 214,885 U.S. residential properties were purchased by foreign buyers (up 2.8 percent)
  • Properties were typically valued higher ($277,380) compared to the median price of all U.S. existing home sales ($223,058).
  • The dollar volume of sales from Chinese buyers exceeded the total dollar sales figure of the next top four ranked countries combined.
  • Five states account for half of foreign buyer purchases: Florida (22 percent), California (15 percent), Texas (10 percent), Arizona and New York (each at 4 percent).
  • Top countries purchasing included China ($27.3 billion in sales volume), Canada ($8.9 billion), India ($6.1 billion), the United Kingdom ($5.5 billion) and Mexico ($4.8 billion).
  • Out of the top five countries, only the United Kingdom saw an uptick in both total sales and dollar volume.
  • Exactly half of all international transactions were all-cash purchases – down from 55 percent a year ago, but still roughly double the overall share of existing sales.

“Especially in the local markets attracting a hefty share of international buyers and sellers such as those in California, Florida and Texas, it’s advantageous for Realtors® to consider earning the Certified International Property Specialist, or CIPS, designation,” says NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “The specialized training on critical aspects of an international transaction such as exchange rate and tax issues and regional market conditions best prepare Realtors® for the increasingly globally connected world of real estate.”

Profile Infographic 2NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buying Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate, conducted in April 2016, surveyed a sample of Realtors® to measure the share of U.S. residential real estate sales to international clients, and to provide a profile of the origin, destination, and buying preferences of international clients, as well as the challenges and opportunities faced by Realtors® in serving foreign clients. The survey presents information about transactions with international clients during the 12-month period between April 2015 and March 2016. A total of 5,960 Realtors® responded to the 2016 survey.

News Release:

Full Report:



Cynthia Fauth

Cindy Fauth (RCE, AHWD, CIPS, ePRO,) is Director of Global Marketing & Business Development for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial & Global Services team. She joined NAR in September 2009, helping real estate agents and associations "go global" by promoting the programs and tools of NAR Commercial & Global Services.

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