July 16, 2009
Expand your real estate market trading area
As economies make marketing real estate more difficult, developers should be more aware of the significant number of international buyers. Percentage of Canadian buyers doubled from last year, from 11 percent to 23.5 percent - now the biggest foreign buyer market in the US.
Releasing the full findings from its 2008 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of International Home Buying Activity, Canadian in particular are taking advantage of the current soft U.S. real estate market by buying vacation property or second homes. Percentage of Canadian buyers doubled from last year, from 11 percent to 23.5 percent - now the biggest foreign buyer market in the U.S.
The NAR report also finds that "64.4% of Canada buyers plan to use their U.S. homes for vacation purposes. On average, foreign purchasers plan to stay in their U.S. property 2.6 months of the year. A third intend to use the U.S. home a total of 3 to 6 months". Condominiums were popular among foreign buyers from Canada: nearly half of all properties purchased by Canadian buyers were condominium/apartments.
Foreign exchange rates have helped keep US homes more affordable, the value of the U.S. dollar as compared to foreign - especially Canadian and European currencies has dropped over the last several years. The effect net when combined with lower U.S. home prices, means that the true cost for a U.S. property is actually less in foreign monetary terms than in previous years.
Although it is still seen as a healthy number of international buyers entering the market to supplement the declining domestic sector, the faltering markets in the UK and Europe have had an impact on the amount buying in the US this year Ð predicted to be far higher then current figures would suggest.
Of the 4,000 US-based agents surveyed between May 2007 - May 2008, some 26 percent served international clients in the past year and nearly half of those clients ended up purchasing a home. The primary reasons some clients did not eventually buy a house were home price concerns, immigration laws, and property taxes. "If visa regulations that favor longer stays for overseas buyers such as retirees from abroad were in place, these sales levels would be even higher," said Tony Macaluso, 2008 chair of NAR's international business group.
"Many international buyers recognize that real estate is an excellent investment and are drawn today by abundant inventory, low interest rates and a softer dollar. These conditions allow them to own their own a piece of the American dream," said NAR President Richard Gaylord.
Foreign buying trends in USA
May 2007 - May 2008: Source NAR
- 150,000 - 190,000 properties sold to international buyers
- Florida, California Texas. Arizona, New York, Washington, Nevada - most popular locations
- 14% of foreign bought property cost over $750,000
- Average foreign purchase cost $297,000
- 40% of buyers paid in cash
- Canada, UK, Mexico, China, India and Germany most active buyer markets
- Percentage of Canadian buyers doubled from last year, from 11% to 23.5% - now the biggest foreign buyer market in the US.