News / USA

US Homes Attractive to Foreign Buyers

US Homes Attractive to Foreign Buyersi
X
December 06, 2013 11:19 PM
The wealthy around the world are always looking for ways to invest their money, and for some people that means buying homes in the United States. While foreign buyers make up just more than six percent of overall home sales in the United States, certain cities are disproportionately affected by foreign buyers, and that includes neighborhoods in southern California, where Elizabeth Lee has this report for VOA.

US Homes Attractive to Foreign Buyers

Elizabeth Lee
The wealthy around the world are always looking for ways to invest their money, and for some people that means buying homes in the United States. While foreign buyers make up just more than six percent of overall home sales in the United States, certain cities are disproportionately affected by foreign buyers, and that includes neighborhoods in southern California.
 
Skeptics may call the belief in feng shui a superstition, but many Chinese consider it an art, and essential for good luck and health in a home. When Chinese native Cathay Wicks searched for a home in the United States, she looked for feng shui elements.

She said she looks for a home that has a lot of light. She said it does not have to be big, but it needs to feel bright.

Wicks is a part of a growing number of people from overseas who are interested in buying homes in major U.S. cities.

Hot pockets

Jed Kolko is chief economist for the real estate site Trulia.com. “There are some parts of the United States that see very strong foreign demand and that helps keep prices high in lots of areas. The places where we see this impact the most is in parts of Los Angeles, Miami and New York,” he said.

The number of buyers from China has been increasing, according to Los Angeles-based real estate expert Angela Wong. In the past year, her clients from China have increased by 30 percent.

She said the first reason her clients buy homes in the United States is so their children can attend school here. The second reason: to immigrate here just like Cathay Wicks, who bought a home in a Los Angeles suburb.

Wicks said the weather in Los Angeles is good, and it also is convenient because there are more Chinese here so it does not feel like a foreign country.

Chinese buyers

More than half of the buyers from China come to California.

In Irvine, California, a new housing development is attracting the attention of potential Chinese buyers with feng shui elements inside the homes and throughout the neighborhood. Developer Emile Haddad came up with the idea. “So we have done feng shui on everything we have. We also have a consultant who looked even at street names when we named the streets. We want to make sure the names of the streets are appropriate in terms of either superstition or in terms of simple pronunciation,” said Haddad.

It is not just people from China, however, who are buying homes in the United States. People from nearly 70 countries are investing their money in U.S. homes. Realtor Shannon Miller said most foreign buyers pay cash, making housing markets such as Los Angeles extremely competitive for domestic buyers who do not have the cash.

“Most of the buyers are trying to buy their homes the traditional way through a loan, and the cash buyers are coming in and they are beating them out. They appeared when the market was full of foreclosure properties. Now their interest is in everything,” said Miller.

One of the neighborhoods that interests foreign buyers is affluent Beverly Hills, where Stan Smith works as a broker. “We have seen different countries go through different economic cycles, and as they prosper they come here. They want to buy a trophy property. They want to put their money in a safe place.”

Another reason for buying a home in the United States: the EB-5 visa. It requires a foreigner to not only invest a certain amount of money in commercial enterprises here, but also have a U.S. home. Economists expect home prices to keep rising, so to make a profit they do not expect foreign investors to sell their homes anytime soon.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid