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Notary Bulletin

Signings For Foreign Buyers Jump As International Sales Of U.S. Homes Skyrocket

MoneyHouseThumb.jpgThe housing market may be in the doldrums, but buyers from other countries can’t get enough of U.S. residential real estate. In the 12-month period ending March 31, foreign buyers spent $92.2 billion on residential real estate purchases, a 35-percent jump from the previous year, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

While that is a relatively small piece of the $1.2 trillion in existing homes sales during the survey period, more than a quarter of real estate agents have worked with clients from other countries, noted the NAR’s 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity.

Foreign buyers potentially pose special challenges for Notaries. Apart from language barriers, Notaries may encounter unfamiliar types of ID, documents drafted in languages they don’t understand, and signers who have misperceptions of what American Notaries can and cannot do. More international buyers come from Canada (19 percent) than any other country.

“Foreign buyers are being enticed to U.S. real estate because of what they recognize as attractive prices, economic stability, and an incredible opportunity for investment in their future,” said NAR President Steve Brown.

China ranks second, accounting for 16 percent of foreign homebuyers, but it also represents the fastest-growing segment of international buyers, jumping from 12 percent last year and nearly doubling its share of American sales since the report was first compiled in 2007. Mexico ranked third, with 9 percent. The United Kingdom and India tied for fourth place with 5 percent each.

More Canadians may have purchased homes in the U.S., but the Chinese spent more — a lot more. Sales to Chinese buyers totaled $22 billion while Canadian buyers spent just $13.8 billion. Foreign buyers also tended to prefer pricier, single-family homes in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, New York and Las Vegas.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

Comments

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joanna

04 Aug 2014

i speak German and French if these foreigners need translations.

Albert crawford

01 Aug 2014

How do I get into the new buyers from other counties

Don Evans

28 Jul 2014

How do you get properties listed in these markets other than by a realtor?

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