Profile of International Home Buying Activity

“The decline in home purchases by foreigners in the U.S. reflects general economic conditions in the U.S., the worldwide recession and the downturn in the U.S. real estate markets.” according to the 2009 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Profile of International Home Buying Activity. Even so, international buyers continue to account for a significant share of REALTOR® business. Here are some results from the study:

  • In 2009, 23% of REALTORS® reported having at least one foreign client, down from 26% in 2008.
  • The major regions of origin for international buyers were Europe 30.8%, North America 27.5% and Asia 25.2%.
  • 69% of REALTORS® reported that their international clients bought a single-family home, while 18% purchase a condominium.
  • From May 2008 to May 2009, nearly 46% of international buyers paid cash for their U.S. property, bypassing the mortgage process.
  • Eight out of 10 foreign buyers purchased homes in the South and West regions of the nation. Four states accounted for the bulk of purchases, Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.
  • The Midwest was increasingly attractive for buyers from Asia with the share of Asian purchasers rising from 13.7% to 21.8% in 2009.
  • Foreign buyers paid more for a U.S. home than did domestic purchasers. The median price foreign buyers paid for a home was $247,100 compared to $198,100 for overall.

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