China Fuels Surge in Foreign Purchases of U.S. Housing

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China Fuels Surge in Foreign Purchases of U.S. Housing
Source: Wall St. Journal

Chinese buyers are leading the way in foreign purchases of U.S. housing, and overall, real estate sales to foreign buyers and new immigrants surged to new highs in the last year, according to a new study released by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Making sense of the story

  • Overall, foreign purchases of U.S. real estate jumped by 35 percent last year.
  • Chinese buyers have become the largest source of foreign cash in the U.S. residential real estate market, accounting for nearly one in four dollars spent by foreigners on American housing last year.
  • China accounted for $22 billion in international sales for the 12-month period ending March 2014, or 24 percent of all foreign sales, up from $12.8 billion, or 19 percent, during the year-earlier period.
  • Total international property sales rebounded last year to $92.2 billion, up from $68.2 billion in 2013 and $82.5 billion in 2012.
  • American real-estate markets have been viewed as a safe haven and a bargain amid concerns over geopolitical instability or unsustainable asset values abroad.
  • The median purchase price to international clients ($268,284 last year) is significantly higher than for all sales ($199,575). Consequently, these buyers tend to hunt for trophy properties.
  • Chinese buyers, in particular, have an eye for Southern California. Los Angeles and Irvine were two of their top three destinations, according to the survey, with San Francisco ranking second.

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