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Chinese Remain Biggest Foreign Buyers of US Residential Real Estate: National Association of Realtors

While the Asia Society and Rosen Consulting Group reported in May that China had finally surpassed Canada as the Number 1 foreign investor in American residential real estate in 2015, the National Association of Realtors has come out with a report stating that Chinese have been the biggest foreign buyers of US homes for four consecutive years. The Association’s 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate found that, in the year ending March 2016, Chinese buyers purchased US$27.3 billion (C$35.4 billion) of American residential real estate.

Canadians spent only a third of that amount, or US$8.9 billion, while Mexicans bought US$4.8 billion, residents from the U.K. bought US$5.5 billion, and East Indians bought US$6.1 billion. Since the previous year, the United Kingdom was the only one of these top five purchasers to increase its flow of purchases, which was up from US$3.8 billion in the year before. Analysis by the Association identified slower international growth, weakened oil-producing countries, and foreign currencies depreciating against the U.S. dollar as reasons for the lower dollar volume of international purchases between years, with a 1.25% decrease from US$103.9 billion to US$102.6 billion. When compared to the year before, U.S. home prices also increased by 6%, compounding foreign buyers’ difficulties in buying American properties.

The total dollar value of Chinese purchases was down by 4.55% from the US$28.6 billion spent in the year ending March 2015. In that year, 34,327 properties were purchased by Chinese buyers, a number which dropped by 15.0% to the most recent year’s 29,195. 32% of Chinese buyers purchased property in California, 10% in New York, 8% in Texas, 6% in Washington, and 5% in New Jersey. While the median real estate purchase price by foreign buyers was US$277,380, Chinese buyers’ median purchase price was US$542,084.

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