The foreign buying spree of U.S. residential real estate is slowing. During the housing crash, when homes could be snapped up for a bargain by anyone with enough cash, foreign buyers swooped in and picked up property for a song.
But a yearly survey by the National Association of Realtors found that in the 12 months ending March 31, home purchases by overseas buyers fell 17 percent. In total, they accounted for 6.3 percent of existing home sales during that period.
Why the sad face?
Home values are still attractive in the U.S., though they've been rising. According to the NAR report, economic woes in several of the foreign countries that produced buyers have dampened demand. Tight lending standards have also had the same negative impact on foreign borrowers as they have on U.S. buyers.
Canada produced the most buyers, with 23 percent, followed by China, with 18 percent. Buyers from Mexico, the United Kingdom and India were also strong contenders.
Canadian and European buyers were seeking warmer, recreational locations, such as Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Fort Myers, Fla., where, it also happens, home values dropped off a cliff during the housing crash. The Chinese concentrated their purchases in major cities, including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
They like warm weather
More than half, 58 percent, of all foreign sales were in just four states: Florida, with 23 percent; California, with 17 percent; Arizona, with 9 percent; and Texas, also with 9 percent.
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