Real estate agents and brokers take note: investment property will see rapid growth in 2012, especially from foreign buyers, according to Professionals Realty Group USA President Glenn Melton.

Glenn Melton

Melton believes that the Chinese government’s recent relaxation of restrictions on investing capital outside of the country "will create an influx of Chinese investment capital overseas."

That will spur investment in the Asia Pacific regions, as well as the United States, Melton said in a statement, "Especially given the concern that central government intervention to contain overheated domestic housing prices will lead Chinese investors to seek other opportunities abroad."

Melton also noted that U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Mike Lee have introduced a bill aimed at increasing foreign investment in the U.S. that would offer a three-year residential visa for foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in residential real estate in the country.

"The real estate investment sector is rapidly evolving with more investors interested in real estate portfolios than one-off transactions — and we will truly see its fruits in the next 18 to 24 months. Real estate brokers and agents have an opportunity to be ahead of the curve and take a bigger position in the investment real estate space, whether foreign or domestic," Melton said.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based national real estate franchising company ProsUSA launched earlier this year. It is the sister company of a 35-year-old Australian real estate franchise, Professionals Real Estate Group, which has more than 350 offices in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji.

At least two major industry players have rolled out websites catering mainly to foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. In November, operator Move Inc. rolled out International, which carries 4.4 million international listings and translation capabilities in 11 languages. Also in November, franchise giant Re/Max LLC launched its own international property search site with hundreds of thousands of listings in 30 languages., an international real estate search and information portal for Mandarin-speaking Chinese consumers, launched earlier this month with more than 1 million property listings from the U.S., Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan.

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