As one way to unload the glut of housing inventory languishing on the market, two senators want to introduce a bill today that gives foreigners who buy a home in the U.S. a residence visa.
Foreigners would have to invest at least $500,000 in residential real estate (buyers can invest in more than one home as long as one is for $250,000 and the total is at least $500,000) and supporters of the proposal say it will help compensate for the lack of U.S. buyers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the bill, authored by Democrat Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, is part of a larger proposal of immigration measures designed to encourage more foreign investment in the U.S.
Currently, foreigners can receive a visa if they invest in a business in the U.S. that creates jobs. The proposed residential visa for homeownership would allow a buyer to bring a spouse and children under age 18 to the U.S., but not to work unless he or she obtained a work visa.
Some of the worst-faring housing markets in the U.S. are attractive to foreign buyers, including parts of Florida, California and Arizona. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that international homebuyers accounted for $82 billion in home sales in the year ending in March. Half that amount includes recent immigrants and those who have held a residence visa for more than six months.
What do you think of the proposal to encourage more foreign homebuyers to invest in the U.S.?
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