Canucks lead pack of investors to the U.S.

That was more than double the share of any other nationality for purchasers, with China coming in second at 11% of all international buyers. The survey counted the 12-month period ending March 31.

Canadians accounted for 24% of all international sales last year, compared to 23% in the 2011 survey, and as low as 11% in 2007. With a favourable exchange rate and sunken prices, Canadians have increasingly found U.S. real estate an affordable investment.

“Today’s advantageous market conditions have drawn more and more foreign buyers to the U.S. in recent years, signaling how desirable and profitable owning property in this country can be,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates, Inc. in Miami, Fla. “Low housing prices, a good inventory condition and increased buying power with today’s exchange rates help attract international clients.”

Most international investors have focused primarily in locations favoured by tourists. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas accounted for 51% of all U.S. purchases last year by foreign buyers.

But most states around the U.S. have seen at least some international purchases recently, said Jed Smith, NAR manager of Quantitative Analysis.

While proximity to relatives or other international investors was one leading factor for locations, the survey also pointed to an obvious reason for Canadians – warmth. “Canadians purchase second homes in Arizona because of the weather,” said the survey, quoting a Realtor.

Sales to buyers from outside the U.S. today account for about 5% of all sales.

The median price of foreign buyers has also increasingly edged higher than the typical median price. Currently, the median U.S. price is just under $170,000, but the median price of homes bought by households outside of the U.S. was $252,000, said Smith.


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