Now is a good time to buy residential real estate in the U.S. as prices are softening nicely in many regions and there is plenty of inventory to choose from. Mortgage money still remains affordable, although several loan products have been tossed and underwriting guidelines have become tougher. This development has been also noticed abroad and those aspiring to own property here have made a serious move to get something.
According to a NAR, or National Association of Realtors, study in which it surveyed 4,000 agents 26% of them had a minimum of one foreign customer and roughly a half of these prospects ended up purchasing something. The report covered the 12-month period ending in May of 2008. The foreigner usually buys a vacation home or an investment property, as anyone would expect.
The top states by popularity are Florida, California and as a small surprise Texas. Right behind them come Nevada, probably heavily favoring Las Vegas and all the entertainment it has to offer, Arizona, Washington and New York. All in all, about 150,000 to 190,000 homes were closed by international buyers during that time frame, estimates NAR. That certainly offers some relief to our current stagnant marketplace.
But there is one statistic that is noteworthy. The same survey from the year before reports that 32% of agents had a foreign client, meaning the trend is now losing steam. The half of foreigners who did not buy anything were mostly bothered by the prices. Or more likely the volatility of them. It's a good bet that it wasn't because they were too high but rather that they may go even lower in the coming months, so their attitude might be to wait and see. Whether they drop further than this, like in Las Vegas, is anyone's guess. Regardless, there is now good housing value in the states mentioned above and other states, too. It truly is as an attractive buyer's market as any in recent memory, also because the US dollar continues to be relatively weak.