Foreign buyers accounted for four percent of U.S. existing home sales in April 2015—March 2016, according to NAR’s recently released 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate.
While international clients represent a small segment of total U.S. existing-home sales market, they are an important clientele, particularly to states that tend to attract international clients: Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and New York. Together, these five states accounted for 51 percent of international buyers who purchased residential property. Other major destinations include New Jersey, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Washington.
Proximity to the home country, the presence of relatives, friends and associates, job and educational opportunities, and climate and location appear to be important considerations in deciding where to purchase a property.
Most Canadian buyers purchased residential property in Florida, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas. Canadian buyers typically purchase properties for use as vacation homes, so they tend to locate in states with warm climates and resort areas.
About a third of Chinese buyers purchased residential property in California, most likely because of its proximity to and cultural affinity with Asia. New York, Texas, Washington, and New Jersey were also preferred destinations. With roughly 39 percent of Chinese buyers buying in states other than these top five states, they are among the more broadly geographically distributed foreign buyer groups.
Compared to other major foreign buyers, Indian buyers are not as concentrated in any particular state, although Texas, California, and New Jersey were top destinations. Most Indian buyers purchased properties to use as a primary residence in these states where they most likely found jobs.
Most buyers from Mexico purchased properties in Texas and California, which are both geographically close and culturally similar to Mexico. North Carolina, Illinois, and Florida were also major destinations.
U.K. buyers mainly purchased residential property for vacation use, typically in warm-weather states of Florida, California, and Texas.