NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Having trouble selling your home? Maybe you should cast a wider net and go after foreign buyers.
Foreigners are among the most eager buyers of residential real estate in the U.S., drawn by low prices and the weakness of the dollar, according to research by the National Association of Realtors. About 62% of foreign buyers pay cash, making them especially appealing at a time many U.S. shoppers are having trouble getting loans.
For the 12 months ended in March, foreign buyers picked up $82.5 billion worth of residential real estate in the U.S., up from $66.4 billion the year before, NAR said, with sales split evenly between nonresidents and recent immigrants. U.S. properties may be used as primary homes, vacation homes or investments.
About 55% of foreign buyers are from Canada, China, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. Canadian buyers lead the pack, accounting for 24% of international sales, with Chinese second at 11%. About half of international buyers choose properties in Florida, California, Texas or Arizona, with Florida first, accounting for 26% of foreign purchases.
While the typical foreign buyer is wealthier than the average domestic buyer, the market is not limited to the rich. The average price paid by foreign buyers was $400,000, with 45% of their purchases being for less than $250,000.
How can you tap this market?
First, figure if your home is a likely candidate. Certain locations have an obvious appeal, such as Miami or San Francisco. But even if you are in the hinterlands your home could attract a foreign buyer if, for instance, there is an employer nearby who brings in foreign executives.