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International House Hunters Maintain Activity in U.S. Market

While the level of search activity from international house hunters changed little year-over-year, ""Trulia"":http://www.trulia.com/ found trends are changing among foreigners who shop for homes in the U.S.

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Among the home searches conducted on Trulia from April 2012 to March 2013, search activity from internationals accounted for 4.3 percent of all searches, down slightly from 4.4 percent a year ago.

Out of the metros eyed by foreigners, Miami was the most searched, representing 14 percent of home searches originating outside of the country. Among the top 10 markets favored by foreigners, six were in Florida. However, all six Florida metros saw year-over-year search activity fall.

While interest seems to be waning for Florida markets, two out of the top 10 most-searched markets saw activity from foreigners increase-Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Los Angeles ranked as the second most searched metro, with 13 percent of foreign searches focused on the area, up by 4 percent a year ago, while San Francisco saw activity from foreigners increase to 9 percent, placing it as the seventh most searched city.

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A closer look at search activity revealed interest from internationals was more about specific neighborhoods than metros.

""Foreigners are drawn to the rich-and-famous neighborhoods,"" said Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist. ""In some of the priciest neighborhoods in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, more than one quarter of home searches come from other countries. But most Americans live in neighborhoods that lack worldwide name recognition. In most neighborhoods, foreigners account for less than 3 percent of home searches.""

For example, in Bel Air, 41 percent of searches are from internationals, compared to 13 percent for all of Los Angeles.

Two other neighborhoods in Los Angeles--Beverly Hills and West Hollywood--held a high share of international searches, at 38 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

The greatest share of foreign search activity originated out of Canada, which represented 19 percent of activity. Though, the year-over-year change in search share for Canada fell by 22 percent, Trulia reported.

Search activity out of the United Kingdom edged up to 9 percent, and for Germany, search share stood at 5 percent, down by 9 percent from the year before.

Meanwhile, Trulia noted, ""home searches are on the rise from lower- and middle-income countries with strong economic growth and stronger spending power.""

India, which accounted for 4 percent of foreign searches, increased its activity by 24 percent, and activity from Nigeria was up by 37 percent and now accounts for 3 percent of foreign searches.
Russia, the Philippines, and China all increased search activity by at least 17 percent.

About Author: Esther Cho

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