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Foreign Purchases of U.S. Real Estate Soars in 2014

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Foreign consumers regained their appetite for U.S. housing in a major way in the 12-month period ending March 2014.

International sales – aka, home purchases in the U.S. by foreign consumers – soared an incredible 35 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the newly released Profile of International Home Buying Activity from NAR.

Measuring sales activity from April 2013 through March 2014, NAR found that foreign home purchases increased from $68.2 billion in 2013 to $92.2 billion in 2014, and accounted for roughly 7 percent of the $1.2 trillion existing-home sales marketplace.

China on the Rise

It’s been a very interesting three years for international real estate in the U.S. After cheap home prices pushed foreign purchases up 24 percent from 2011 to 2012  (all the way to an all-time record of $82.5 billion), sales tumbled from 2012 to 2013, as rising prices pushed them down 17.3 percent to the aforementioned $68.2 billion. Why, then, did sales recover like they did into 2014? One word – China.

Spurred on by a deflating housing bubble at home and persistent political unrest, Chinese interest in U.S. real estate has soared in the last couple years, rising at a rate that puts the rest of the world to shame. See our graph below for some insight into China’s rising influence:

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