A report last issued last week from the National Association of Realtors showed that international real estate investors are taking advantage of near historic-low home prices in the United States. The report showed that $82 billion worth of homes across the nation were purchased in the twelve months ended March 31st by buyers born overseas, a 24 percent increase over the previous twelve months. Canadian buyers were particularly active in the U.S. housing market, accounting for 23 percent of all sales to foreign buyers.China ranked second, accounting for 9 percent of international sales, followed by Mexico, India, and the U.K., which all accounted for about 7 percent. In recent years we have seen more and more foreign buyers coming here to take advantage of low prices and plentiful inventory, explained the NAR's president Ron Phipps. The reasons for the increase in foreign-born buyers are pretty obvious, home prices are down a staggering 33 percent from peak levels set in July 2006, and unemployment still high and credit harder to obtain, American buyers are largely staying on the sidelines so there's plenty of homes to choose from.Foreign-born buyers accounted for nearly 8 percent of just over $1 trillion in U.S. home sales in the twelve months ended in march. About half of those sales went to immigrants who moved to the U.S. in the last two years, while the other half went to international real estate investors. According to the NAR, homes are typically cheaper here than elsewhere in the world, and are viewed as a safe investment with income opportunity through renting and long-term appreciation value.Among states, foreign buyers seemed to favor Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona, which accounted for a combined 58 percent of foreign sales. About 62 percent of these international buyers paid cash for the properties, rather than buying with financing.
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