Housing in the News
By Victor Normand
Published: April 2011
National Association of Realtor reports that the number of home buyers from countries in Western Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Asia has increased by more than 50% over the past two years with international buyers buying properties in Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, New York, and Nevada. In dollar terms for 2010, that represented $66 billion of residential property, or 7% of the total US market.
That’s a lot of real estate and a significant portion of the overall market, but how do these real estate sales really affect our Acton area market? For the most part, the international buyers we deal with at Acton Real Estate are individual purchasers who are buying homes for themselves because they have temporarily or permanently relocated to the area because of a job or a family consideration. We have not seen the international investors evident in other parts of the country. But that does not mean that this activity has no local significance.
For one thing, the fact that international buyers see the U.S market as a safe, stable place to invest compared to their own countries is itself an endorsement of our market, and should bring some sense of increased confidence to those who have lived under a real estate dark cloud for the past several years. More than half of these international buyers are paying cash, by the way, compared to 7% of the market as a whole, another sign of confidence. The doom and gloom crowd needs to take a step back and ask why the current U.S. real estate market looks better from a distance than it does up close.
The lion’s share of the buying is taking place in parts of the country hardest hit by the real estate crisis, which is not surprising since that is where the bargains are. The benefit to the rest of the country, including our market, is that the sooner the large numbers of foreclosures and surplus inventory are behind us, along with the negative media headlines we’re continually subjected to, the sooner the national psyche moves away from that negative perspective and the true, nature of the current housing market emerges.
So, a big thank you to the international buyers for the increased activity, and for believing in the U.S. economy and indirectly helping to put the housing market in a better light.