Residential real estate drops 36%

For an overseas buyer a US home isn't the bargain it once was with rising prices and foreign currencies losing value against the dollar

For an overseas buyer a US home isn't the bargain it once was with rising prices and foreign currencies losing value against the dollar

Foreign buyers spent $77.9 billion on homes in the United States during the 12 months that ended March 31, down from $121 billion during the same period a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors' annual survey on worldwide transactions. Chinese economic growth also slowed to 6.3% in 2019 compared with 6.9% in 2017, helping to precipitate the constriction of cash. China recently reported its slowest rate of economic growth since 1992, for example, while analysts project Mexico has entered a recession as of Q2 2019 and the United Kingdom remains on edge pending negotiations to leave the European Union.

Foreign purchases of USA residential real estate fell 36 percent to the lowest annual rate since 2013, as slowing overseas economies, trade wars, and the strong dollar put a chill on demand.

In the first quarter of this year, Chinese buyer inquiries for US properties on Juwai.com, a Chinese real estate site, were down 27.5% from a year ago. Southern California had been especially popular with Chinese parents hoping to send their children to American colleges.

Chinese buyers continued to represent the largest share of foreign homebuyers, accounting for $13.4 billion in total sales volume, although this was 56 percent less than was seen in the previous 12 months. The data include foreigners who reside outside the United States and those who are recent immigrants or temporary visa holders.

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Foreign buyers are buying fewer existing homes in the USA, according to a survey released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Nonresident buyers spent $33.2 billion, while new arrivals bought $44.7 billion.

"The magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the U.S.", Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a statement.

The top 5 destinations of foreign home purchases were Florida (20%), California (12%), Texas (10%), Arizona (5%), and New Jersey (4%). Buyers from China became less common and more cost-conscious than in previous years, likely due to new laws passed by the Chinese government to restrict the movement of wealth beyond its borders. California attracted 12 percent of the almost $80 billion global buyers spent, or about $9.35 billion.

Meanwhile, total mortgage applications in the US dropped more than 1 percent last week, as interest rates rose to their highest level in a month.

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