Affluent international buyers, attracted by fire-sale prices, are snapping up real estate in some U.S. markets. In a report released today, Inman News identifies 10 markets where public records indicate foreign buyers make up the biggest share of overall buyers.
Most of the markets are located in sunny Florida, though areas in Nevada, Arizona, New York and Hawaii are also on the list. The report highlights the economic and personal factors that drive foreign buyers to buy; their preferred property types; top countries of origin; how they find the real estate professionals they work with; why the selected markets appeal to them; and relevant demographic and housing-related characteristics for the markets, including share of foreign-born population, distressed property footprint, home-price trends, and vacancy rates.
Among the findings in this report, researched and written by Inman News reporter Andrea V. Brambila:
- Population levels in the markets range from about 600,000 in Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., to nearly 5.6 million in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.
- Seven out of 10 markets had foreign-born populations above the national rate of 13.1 percent in 2010. The Miami metro had the highest share born abroad, at 39.2 percent.
- In six of the 10 markets, area inhabitants who were foreign-born and moved from abroad accounted for a higher-than-average share of overall inhabitants who reported moving in the previous year in 2010. New York County (Manhattan) had the highest share: 7.7 percent of the people who moved in that county were both foreign-born and hailing from abroad.
- In seven out of 10 markets, the median sales price for an existing, single-family home was lower than the national median of $163,500 in fourth-quarter 2011. In eight out of 10 markets, the median sales price for a condo was lower than the national median of $160,800 for that same quarter.
- Condo prices fell on an annual basis in the fourth quarter in seven out of 10 markets. All seven saw their prices decline by more than the national rate of -1.7 percent.
- Seven of the 10 markets had a higher share of distressed sales in fourth-quarter 2011 than the national rate of 23.7 percent. Eight of the 10 markets had higher foreclosure activity rates in fourth-quarter 2011 compared to the national rate.
- Nine of the 10 markets, except for Honolulu, had higher vacancy rates in 2010 than the national rate of 13.1 percent. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., had the highest rate, at 37 percent.
View the "10 Hot Spots for Global Homebuyers" report.