But add in the $41 billion spent by immigrants who moved here within the last two years and individuals with visas of more than six months, and the total is $82 billion worth of U.S. residential real estate taken off the market by international buyers, up from $66 billion the year before.
The demand for American real estate is so strong that last fall, the Realtors association launched an international version of its listing website.
According to an analysis of Internet searches of U.S. real estate by foreigners in last year's fourth quarter by Point2, a real estate technology company, Florida holds the most interest, followed by Arizona, Nevada and California.
None of this is terribly surprising. Not only are housing prices languishing in these spots, but most people prefer warmer climates. What may be surprising, though, is that many foreign buyers are not coming to the U.S. from that far away.
While the Realtors counted buyers from more than 70 countries, Canada accounted for nearly a fourth of all international sales, followed by China at 9% and India, Mexico and Britain each with a 7% share. Together, these five countries accounted for 53% of the transactions.
Canadians have always been big investors in American real estate, especially in warmer climates. But Saul Klein of Vancouver, Canada, firm Point2 says interest is also keen among Canadians in states such as Michigan, which is close to home. Michigan has been hit particularly hard by the downturn and, therefore, offers "very attractive" investment opportunities, Klein says.
But pure investment isn't necessarily the main driver of the decision to buy houses in America, even if the buyers expect to use them only on vacations with family and friends. Rather, it's foreign buyers' desire to protect their money from the ravages of their own economies.
If you would like more information, please visit our website at: http://www.atlantapropertypreservationpartners.com or call 404.939.5808.