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ArlingtonReal EstateData: COVID cuts into home sales to foreign buyers

Data: COVID cuts into home sales to foreign buyers

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No surprise here: Sales of existing homes to foreign buyers during the year of COVID were down significantly from normal times, with both those living in the U.S. and those investing from overseas stepping back.

Perhaps the bigger surprise: That continues a trend that began well before COVID hit.

Foreign buyers purchased $54.4 billion worth of U.S. existing homes from April 2020 through March 2021, a 27-percent decrease from the previous 12-month period and the fourth consecutive annual decline in foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

Foreign buyers purchased 107,000 properties, down 31 percent from the prior year. The dollar and sales volumes are the lowest since 2011
Foreign buyers who resided in the U.S. as recent immigrants or who were holding visas that allowed them to reside in the country purchased $32.4 billion worth of U.S. existing homes, a 21-percent decrease from the prior year.

Foreign buyers who lived abroad purchased $22 billion worth of existing homes, down 33 percent from the 12 months prior and accounting for 40 percent of the dollar volume. All told, international buyers accounted for 2.8 percent of the $5.8 trillion in existing-home sales during that time period.

“The big decline in foreign purchases of homes in the U.S. in the past year is no surprise, given the pandemic-induced lockdowns and international travel restrictions,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

China and Canada remained first and second in U.S. residential sales dollar volume at $4.5 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively, continuing a trend going back to 2013. India ($3.1 billion), Mexico ($2.9 billion) and the United Kingdom ($2.7 billion) rounded out the top five.

The U.K. was the only country among the top five to see an increase in dollar volume from the previous 12-month period, and it replaced Colombia as the fifth largest country of origin by dollar volume of foreign buyers.

For the 13th straight year, Florida remained the top destination for foreign buyers, accounting for 21 percent of all international purchases. California and Texas were next.

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