• The average price of a home bought by international buyers is around $250,000, and they are branching into different markets.
  • The challenge to working with international portals is that they don't all comply with the same standards.
A headshot of Celeste Starchild

Celeste Starchild

Most people probably assume that international buyers are looking at luxury homes in the U.S. But according to Celeste Starchild, Move’s senior vice president of professional software and general manager of ListHub, the average price of a home being purchased by an international buyer is a humble $250,000 — even slightly under.

Where are international buyers buying?

She blew up another stereotype while speaking at yesterday’s Global Connect NYC conference: Starchild said that although the talk of international purchases always centers around Miami, New York and San Francisco, the most popular U.S. market for overseas buyers at the moment is Bellingham, Washington, according to her realtor.com figures. (Waco, Texas is also on the list of top cities.)

The Seattle metro area, she explained, is a growing hub for tech businesses and also has large local industrial corporations (such as Boeing) attracting overseas talent.

International portals

Starchild oversees the ListHub Global Network, which spans 85-plus publishers in more than 55 countries. She told agents that one of the challenges to working with international portals is ensuring that they adhere to the same standards as portals in the U.S. Here, she said, agents can be confident of the accuracy of the content and data, and brokers have full control of changing the data and can remove the listing or change the price, for instance.

“What we have struggled with at ListHub is that listings on portals in other countries don’t have that level of sensitivity — that’s the biggest hurdle that we have to get over, and it tends to be a problem for U.S. customers,” she said.

“It becomes about how can we get these portals to sign agreements to upgrade their standards.”

The ListHub GM flagged the real estate portal Myfun.com, part of the REA Group in Australia, as one to watch. It lists properties for Chinese investors.

In the U.K., a number of brokerages decided to join forces and set up their own real estate portal in competition against the two main players there, Rightmove and Zoopla.

“They decided they were paying too much to display their listings,” she said.

Called onthemarket.com, it has been positioned as a portal “by brokers and for brokers.”

“It mirrors a lot of what some U.S. brokers and agents are doing with Broker Public Portal,” said Starchild.

It has not been a roaring success so far.

“They came out very very aggressively and told agents they could get a listing on onthemarket.com for free as long as they did not put the listing on Rightmove and Zoopla as well,” she said.

“Rightmove is still, by far, the leader in the market,” she added.

Email Gill South.

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