According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), international buyers and investors purchased $53.3 billion worth of residential properties from the period between April 2022 and March 2023, a 9.6% reduction from the previous year.
This number, which roughly equates to 84,600 units purchased by foreign investors, was the lowest number since the NAR began tracking the statistic in 2009.
However, reflecting current market conditions, the average home sold for $639,000 while the median home sold for $396,400—the highest numbers ever recorded by the NAR.
Overall, U.S. existing-home sales totaled 5.03 million in 2022, down 17.8% from 2021.
“Sharply lower housing inventory in the U.S. and higher borrowing costs across the world have dented international buyers for two straight years,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “However, recovering international travel following the end of the pandemic will bring more foreign transactions in coming months and years.”
Foreign buyers who resided in the U.S. as recent immigrants or who were holding visas that allowed them to live in the U.S. purchased $23.4 billion worth of U.S. existing homes, a 31.4% decrease from the prior year and representing 44% of the dollar volume of purchases. Foreign buyers who lived abroad purchased $29.9 billion worth of existing homes, up 20% from the 12 months prior and accounting for 56% of the dollar volume. International buyers accounted for 2.3% of the $2.3 trillion in existing-home sales during that period.
At $1.23 million, Chinese buyers had the highest average purchase price, with a third – 33% – purchasing property in California. In total, 15% percent of foreign buyers purchased properties worth more than $1 million from April 2022 to March 2023. China and Canada remained first and second in U.S. residential sales dollar volume at $13.6 billion and $6.6 billion, respectively, continuing a trend going back to 2013. Mexico ($4.2 billion), India ($3.4 billion) and Colombia ($0.9 billion) rounded out the top five.
“Home purchases from Chinese buyers increased after China relaxed the world’s strictest pandemic lockdown policy, while buyers from India were helped by the country’s strong GDP growth,” Yun added. “A stronger Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar likely contributed to the rise in sales from Mexican buyers.”
For the fifteenth consecutive year, Florida remained the top market for foreign buyers, accounting for 23% of purchases. California and Texas tied for second (12% each), followed by North Carolina, Arizona and Illinois (4% each).
“Florida, Texas and Arizona continue to attract foreign buyers despite the hot weather conditions during the summer and the significant spike in home prices that began a few years ago,” Yun said.
Half of foreign buyers purchased their property for use as a vacation home, rental property, or both—up from 44% the previous year. Almost three out of five international buyers (59%) purchased detached, single-family homes.
“Fostering economic investment in culturally dynamic communities, businesses, and industry is a top priority for NAR,” said Charlie Dawson, NAR’s vice president of engagement and advocacy outreach. "Our work across the country provides members and their communities with tools, resources and data to identify and highlight international investment opportunities in U.S. real estate. This acts as a key pillar in our efforts to further support local communities to drive economic development in markets across the country. NAR and the Realtor brand has developed a network of partnerships with over 100 real estate organizations across 77 countries providing growth opportunities by ensuring ethical and accessible markets that allow our members to make direct connections with global real estate professionals and international investors.”