Which Foreigners Are Looking to Buy U.S. Homes

The Fiscal Times

All eyes may be currently on Brazil, host of the World Cup 2014 – but Brazilians are increasingly looking at us, or, more precisely, at our real estate.

Brazil accounted for 4.1 percent of all searches by foreigners for homes on the real estate website Trulia for the first five months of the year. That’s up 1.3 percent from the same period last year, according to a new Trulia report.

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Brazil still lags behind some other countries when it comes to searches for U.S. homes: Canada represents 18.5 percent of all searches; the U.K., 10.6 percent; and Germany, 5.5 percent. This year Brazil has jumped ahead of India, Mexico and Australia in the rankings.

Overall, the share of home searches on Trulia between January and May from outside the U.S. was slightly down to 4 percent, from 4.2 percent a year ago – although that doesn’t mean foreigners are buying less real estate, if last year’s purchases are any guide.

Foreign purchases of U.S. properties climbed to 2.5 percent of all properties bought, from 2.2 percent for the first four months of 2013, according to Adam DeSanctis of the National Association of Realtors. For the 12 months ended March 2013, Brazil represented only 2 percent of international home purchases, according to the National Association of Realtors, far behind Canada (23 percent), China (12 percent) and Mexico (8 percent). (The 2014 report on international home buying activity is due out in a few months.)

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Interestingly, foreigners are looking less at vacations homes so far in 2014 and more at dense urban neighborhoods; Brazilians – in contrast to Canadians – mostly want homes in urban areas. The median price of the for-sale homes they viewed was $339,000. “Urban areas were even more popular among house hunters from Australia, France, Italy and Russia,” said the Trulia report.

Miami had the highest share of searches from outside the U.S., widening its lead over Los Angeles (New York City came in 12th position). Top zip codes in Miami are Key Biscayne and Miami Beach.

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