Home Selling Advice: Look for International Buyers

Home Selling Advice: International Home Buyers Did you realize that during this past year alone, a staggering $82 billion of residential property in the U.S. was bought by foreign or foreign-born buyers?

The National Association of Realtors reported this fact, along with the news that this was a $16 billion increase from the year before. What makes this more interesting yet is that 45% of these international purchases went to buy properties under $200,000 — and 61% of this total represented single family homes.

This can be viewed as potentially good news for home sellers with lower-cost homes in areas where international investors are buying.

When deciding where to purchase, foreign investors often consider the proximity to their home country, convenience of air travel and airline routes, climate and nearness to attractions and resources such as colleges, job markets and international corporations. Generally speaking, the East Coast tends to attracts Europeans and the West Coast attracts more Asian buyers. Mexican investors often look to the adjacent southwest region and Florida is popular among South American, European and Canadian buyers.

There are many reasons international investors are coming to the United States: First, I think they like the idea that our wiring, plumbing and building codes are somewhat up-to-date, give or take a century — thanks to the United States being a pretty new country.

But of course, there’s more to it than that, such as our newly affordable home prices, bountiful inventory, advantageous currency exchange rates, a strong U.S. rental market for investors and the availability of experienced property managers. United States home ownership is also seen as a secure investment. In addition, many U.S. Realtors have a global perspective and experience working with clients from different cultures. This allows for a comfortable client-agent relationship and smoother transactions.

Many U.S. colleges also have a significant number of international students, which is motivating some foreign families to purchase properties for their children to live in while attending school. A growing number of foreign executives working in the U.S. are purchasing residences as well. Additionally, immigrants often see home ownership as an important step in their path to establishing themselves in the United States.

For all of these reasons investors have come from 70 different countries during the past year to buy into the U.S. housing market. (The top countries represented include Canada, China, Mexico, the UK, India, Argentina and Brazil.)

As a home seller or Realtor, international buyers are an important market to consider in your home selling efforts. For further insight into this growing group of buyers, read the National Association of Realtor’s 2011 Profile of International Home Buying Activity.

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