INTERNATIONAL BUYERS

Foreign buyers in Naples Florida

According to CNN Money, foreign buyers are increasing here in the U.S.

A new Senate bill is emerging that will make it even easier for foreign buyers to take advantage of American real estate. The bill is co-sponsored by Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and states that a U.S. Visa will be granted to international investors who agree to spend at least $500,000 on resdential real estate in the U.S. If passed, this could mean a surge in real estate sales, especially in regions like Naples, Florida and other Southwest Florida cities that have already seen an influx of international buyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), foreign buyers, spent $82 billion dollars buying U.S. homes in the 12 months ended in March, up 24% from a year earlier, represeting 8% of total U.S. sales.

The Senate bill would require buyers to pay cash for the homes to qualify for the new “homeowner” visa. They’d also need to pay U.S. taxes and spend at 180 days a year in the country, and can’t work here or take out home-equity loans against the properties. In return, they’d get to live here for at least three years.

However, foreigners seem to have more confidence in the U.S. real estate market than Americans do. Almost half of buyers surveyed by NAR cited the profitability or safety of their investments as the main factor that persuaded them to buy. With the economic distress in Europe, it seems that people are still looking for safe havens for investing and the U.S. is perceived globally as safe.

In Southwest Florida, foreign buyers already account for 25% of residential sales. Condo sales have been surprisingly accoring to Metrostudy, a housing analytics company, and the majority of those sales are to South Americans and Canadians.


International buyer activity has been great for the Florida market. Housing starts were up nearly 20% in the three months ended Sept. 30, according to Metrostudy. Even better for homeowners, foreign sales can be very easy beacause the buyers are often affluent and buy more expensive homes. And, overwhelmingly, international buyers pay cash.

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