International buyers snap streak of falling foreign investment with $59 billion in existing-home purchases

International buyers accounted for $59 billion in U.S. existing-home sales from April 2021 through March 2022, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported.

That’s up 8.5% from the prior 12-month period, snapping three consecutive years of dwindling foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate, per NAR data. Surging home prices helped bring the total dollar value over the hump, as the 98,600 existing homes sold were actually down 7.9% year over year to reach the lowest number since NAR began keeping track in 2009.

The median purchase price for international buyers was $366,100, while the average was $598,200 — both all-time highs and up annually by 4.1% and 17.7%, respectively. Chinese buyers had the highest average purchase price, topping out at just over $1 million. This was partially because almost one-third of Chinese buyers bought properties in California.

“For the second year in a row, restrictions and general caution tied to international travel during the pandemic slowed homebuying by wealthier foreign buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Even so, domestic homebuying demand was exceptional and therefore boosted home sales nationally.”

Foreign buyers who lived in the U.S. — either as visa holders or as recent immigrants — bought $34.1 billion in existing homes, up 5.2% from the previous year. Foreign buyers based overseas purchased $24.9 billion, up 13.2% annually. International buyers accounted for 2.6% of the $2.3 trillion in existing-home sales during the April-to-March period evaluated by NAR.

Florida was the top destination for foreign buyers for the 14th year in a row as 24% of all international purchases occurred in the Sunshine State. Next was California at 11%, followed by Texas (8%), Arizona (7%), New York (4%) and North Carolina (4%).

China remained the largest source for international sales at $6.1 billion, followed by Canada ($5.5 billion). These two nations have placed first and second among foreign capital sources since 2013. The rest of the top five was occupied by India ($3.6 billion), Mexico ($2.9 billion) and Brazil ($1.6 billion).


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