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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid