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Annual Foreign Investment In U.S. Existing-Home Sales Climbed 8.5%

Sarah Wolak
Jul 18, 2022
National Association of Realtors (NAR)

The increase to nearly $60 billion breaks a three-year-long streak of decline.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The increase in foreign investment marks an 8.5% increase from the previous 12-month period.
  • The monthly average existing-home sales price rose to $374,300, which is up 10% from the prior period.

Foreign buyers purchased $59 billion-worth of U.S. existing homes from April 2021 through March 2022, an 8.5% increase from the previous 12-month period and stopping a three-year skid in foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). 

Foreign buyers purchased 98,600 properties, down 7.9% from the prior year. Overall in the U.S., existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 — the highest annual level since 2006. For the 14th straight year, Florida remained the top destination for foreign buyers, accounting for 24% of all international purchases. 

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

Foreign buyers who resided in the U.S. as recent immigrants or who were holding visas that allowed them to live in the U.S. purchased $34.1 billion worth of U.S. existing homes, a 5.2% increase from the prior year and representing 58% of the dollar volume of purchases. 

The average ($598,200) and median ($366,100) existing-home sales prices among international buyers were the highest ever recorded by NAR. The increase in foreign buyer prices partly reflects the uptick in U.S. home prices, as the monthly average existing-home sales price rose to $374,300, which is up 10% from the prior period. 

“Affordability challenges along with the inability to find the right property were the top reasons given for prospective international buyers who showed interest but ultimately did not purchase a home in the United States,” Yun said.

“Due to rising interest rates, overall home sales will decline in the U.S. this year. Foreign buyers, however, are likely to step up purchases, as those making all-cash offers will be immune from changes in interest rates,” Yun added. “In addition, international flights have increased in recent months with the lifting of pandemic-related travel restrictions.”

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