Foreign purchasers and immigrants purchased $153 billion worth of real estate in 2016. This is up 49% from the $103.9 billion for the previous year. The year is measured from the period between April of 2016 to May 2017. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate. 284,455 U.S. properties were purchased by foreign buyers which is an increase of 32 percent from 2016.
Chinese buyers remain the biggest purchaser of U.S. real estate with $31.7 billion worth. More than a third of Chinese buyers purchased residential property in California. It is believed it is most likely because of its proximity to and cultural affinity with Asia. The other destinations that were preferred are Texas, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Indiana, and Virginia.
Canadian buyers are the second biggest foreign purchasers of U.S. real estate with $19.0 billon worth of transactions. Most Canadian buyers purchased residential property in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, Georgia, Minnesota, and Nevada. Canadian buyers typically purchase properties for use as vacation homes, so they tend to locate in states with warm climates and resort areas.
“Inventory shortages continue to drive up U.S. home values, but prices in five countries, including Canada, experienced even quicker appreciation. Some of the acceleration in foreign purchases over the past year appears to come from the combination of more affordable property choices in the U.S. and foreigners deciding to buy now knowing that any further weakening of their local currency against the dollar will make buying more expensive in the future.”