Six percent of home sales to foreign buyers

More than $68 billion in recent U.S. homes sales were international sales – led by Canadian, Chinese and Mexican buyers.

International sales for the 12 months ending in March 2013 declined $14 billion over the previous year, but were still the second highest in several years, according to the National Association of Realtors 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity.

The decline was attributed to economic slowdowns in some foreign economies, unfavorable exchange rates and tighter U.S. credit standards.

Overall, international purchases in the U.S. housing market totaled about 6 percent of all sales.

The sales were split almost evenly between buyers who live in a foreign country and recent immigrants to the United States or temporary visa holders.

Overall, international buyers spent at least 50 percent more than domestic buyers on homes – a median $275,862 compared to $179,867 for American buyers.

Foreign buyers tend to be wealthier, and the properties they purchase differ from sales to U.S. citizens in that they tend to be either “trophy homes” or modest vacation homes, the report said. Buyers from outside the United States tend to buy in clustered locations to be close to their home country or relatives.

Five states made up 61 percent of international sales: Florida (23 percent); California (17 percent); Arizona (9 percent); Texas (9 percent); and New York (3 percent).

  • Canadian buyers purchased homes primarily in Florida, Arizona and California, with a median price tag of $183,000.
  • Chinese homebuyers, on the other hand, bought primarily in California with a median price of $425,000.
  • Homebuyers from Mexico bought primarily in Texas and California at a median price of $156,250. Other nations that had a large number of U.S. home purchases were India and the United Kingdom.