News / USA

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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs