Foreign buyers purchased $102.6 billion of residential property in April 2015—March 2016, according to NAR’s recently released 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate. Foreign buyers from five countries continued to account for most of the reported purchases: China, Canada, Mexico, India, and the United Kingdom. Together, they constituted 45 percent of foreign residential property buyers. For the second year in a row, China was the top origin of foreign buyers, displacing Canada.
Foreign buyers are of two types: those who primarily reside in another country (non-resident) and those who reside in the U.S. as recent immigrants or those residing in the U.S. on temporary visas for work, education, or other purpose (resident). Non-resident foreign buyers typically purchase properties for investment and/or vacation and pay in cash while resident foreign buyers typically purchase the property for use as a primary residence and obtain U.S. mortgage financing.Most Canadians and U.K. foreign buyers are non-resident buyers, while most Chinese, Indian, and Mexican foreign buyers are resident buyers. About 80 percent of Canadian foreign buyers and 61 percent of U.K. foreign buyers were non-resident buyers. In the 12 months ended March 2015, only 39 percent of Chinese buyers were non-resident, a decrease from the 47 percent share in the previous 12-month period. Slower economic growth in China, the depreciation of the yuan, and tighter regulation on individual capital outflows may account for this.
Asia/Oceania accounted for 34 percent of foreign buyers of residential properties, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean at 21 percent, Europe at 18 percent, North America (mainly, Canada) at 12 percent, and Africa at three percent. Twelve percent of foreign buyers came from a country that the survey respondent could not identify.
 Non-resident foreigners are non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the United States. These clients typically purchase property as an investment, for vacations, or other visits of less than six months to the United States. Resident foreigners are non-U.S. citizens who are recent immigrants (in the country less than two years at the time of the transaction) or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the United States for professional, educational, or other reasons.