Foreign real estate investors buy a lot of property in California. In fact, California residential properties account for 15 percent of all of the residential real estate purchases that are made by foreign investors. The most popular residential real estate market for foreign investors is Florida, which accounts for 22 percent of foreign buyer purchases. Texas, Arizona and New York are also highly sought after markets for foreign real estate investment.
Though purchasing U.S. real estate is still as popular as ever with buyers from Asia, Latin America, Canada and Europe, foreign buyers are now starting to invest in cheaper properties. The shift from luxury properties to more affordable properties may be caused in part by the increase in U.S. home prices and the strength of the U.S. dollar. Foreign real estate buyers are also less likely to be nonresidents these days.
According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, foreign buyers spent $102.6 billion on U.S. residential property from April 2015 to March 2016. The dollar amount represents a decline of 1.3 percent since last year's NAR report. However, the total number of residential properties purchased by foreign buyers went up by 2.8 percent year-over-year. The executive vice president of Ten-X said that foreign buyers are spending less money on more properties because they are investing in more affordable markets.
With foreign real estate investors looking outside of expensive markets like San Francisco, property owners in smaller U.S. cities may be able to sell to them. A property owner that would like to sell to a foreign investor may want to work with an attorney to facilitate the transaction. An attorney may be able to help the seller to negotiate for the best price and handle the real estate closing.