International homebuyers —

— those with permanent residences outside the U.S., recent immigrants and temporary visa holders — are snapping up homes and condos in the U.S. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), they increased their purchase of U.S. residential property from $66 billion in 2010 to $82 billion in 2011, a 24% increase in just one year.

Fueling international investors is their sense that U.S. home prices are a bargain. A favorable currency rate is also working to their advantage. The value of the dollar has fallen against most foreign currencies, making U.S. residential property even cheaper.

In 2011, international buyers came from a total of 70 countries. The top five — Canada, Mexico, China, U.K., and India — accounted for 53% of all transactions. International transactions occurred across the U.S., but four states accounted for 58% of all transactions: Florida had 31%, California had 12%, Texas had 9% and Arizona had 6%.

The average price paid by international buyers was $315,000, compared to the overall U.S. average of $218,000. This year’s report showed that 45% of purchases were below $200,000.

Many real estate purchases were also at the high end. The New York Times recently reported a big increase in Chinese businessmen purchasing luxury property in New York City, where $1,500 per square foot is considered cheap compared to $2,000 in Hong Kong, $3,600 in London and $4,300 in Monaco.

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About sfpeninsulaestates
Raleigh Real Estate - We Serve Clients, not just Locations www.sfpeninsulaestates.com John and Svetlana (Lana) Raleigh: the Raleigh Real Estate Team

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