International buyers still attracted to US
By Peter Mindenhall

International buyers still attracted to US

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Property in the US is continuing to attract buyers from overseas, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The body has estimated that residential sales to foreign buyers stood at $82.5 billion (approximately £54.5 billion). This equates to approximately 8.8 per cent of the total residential market by dollar volume.

Among those choosing to invest in US real estate, certain locations are proving to be the most popular. NAR claims that Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle continue to be the cities that have gained prominence over a long period of time, thanks to their positions as ports or key economic centres. Austin, Dallas, Houston, Miami, San Diego and Washington DC are also proving to be relatively high growth areas.

Rising international interest in the US property market is no doubt helping the sector get back up on its feet and NAR had previously reported that the country's real estate industry is on the road to recovery. While arguably in the early stages, 2012 saw growth of 12.5 per cent. The median existing home price for all housing types in the last month of 2012 also increased by 11.5 per cent year-on-year, standing at $180,800 (approximately £114,362). December was in fact the tenth consecutive month of year-on-year price gains and NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun claims that consistent demand is helping to drive growth.

"The number of potential buyers who stayed on the sidelines accumulated during the recession, but they started entering the market early last year as their financial ability and confidence steadily grew, along with home prices," he said. However, caution is still advised, with "tight inventory and restrictive mortgage underwriting standards are limiting". 

Despite this, foreign buyers are not deterred and are asserting themselves in both residential and commercial markets. NAR estimates that in the commercial sector, overseas investors accounted for 7.7 per cent of total sales, indicated renewed confidence in the country as a whole.
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