Foreign buyers are flocking to purchase U.S. real estate.
Residents from other countries are increasingly eyeing U.S. real estate as a good investment, and they’re making up a significant portion of buyers in some markets. But who is coming is changing.
Chinese buyers have been the biggest portion, spending the most of any foreign group on U.S. real estate. They spent $31.7 billion on residential real estate in the U.S. between April 2016 and March 2017, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). But mainland China has since tightened restrictions on how much capital residents can spend outside the country. That has caused some markets to see a drastic decrease of Chinese buyers.
“You turn off one faucet, and another one opens,” says Jonathan Genton, the founding partner and CEO of the Genton Property Group.
The New Faucet
Buyers from other countries have been coming in to fill the gap. For example, Genton sees more buyers coming in from Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand and more investors from Dubai, Kuwait, Georgia, and Turkey.
“Everyone recognizes the stability and security of the U.S. market more than ever before,” Genton says, adding that up to 70 percent of a 59-unit Four Seasons Private Residences project in Beverly Hills likely will be foreigners.
Mauricio Umansky, CEO and founder of The Agency, says he’s been seeing more buyers from Great Britain in the luxury L.A. market. Umansky says that foreign buyers purchased about 10 of the 35 homes that The Agency sold in the Southern California market for more than $20 million in 2017.
“At any given point, who the front runners are changes,” say Shahab Karmely, the CEO of KAR Properties in New York. For example, in the 1980s, Japanese buyers were accounting for some of the biggest portion of real estate purchases from foreign buyers in the U.S. In 2017, they made up only 2 percent of foreign property purchases.
As the foreign buyer group changes, Karmely says it’s important to note how U.S.-based real estate still continues to expand and accelerate among international buyers.
Their searches are broadening too. In Miami, foreign buyers are looking beyond just the beach and downtown locales. “This change has been transformational,” he says.
“Foreign buyers make up a significant presence in the U.S. luxury market that will only increase as generations come here to study and geopolitical and safety factors continue to play a role.”