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National (Aug 23) – The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has documented what some might consider an alarming trend. The NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity for 2010 indicates that foreign investors are swooping in and making a real property killing in the United States. Foreclosures and short sales continue to climb with a huge shadow inventory of lender-owned homes yet to hit the market.
Hong Kong, China, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and 48 other countries know a deal when they see it and buyers are purchasing real estate across the country.
Canadian buyers, at 23 percent, are the most prolific. Mexico investors have taken up 10 percent of the market. UK buyers, while slowing slightly since 2009, account for 10.5 percent of real property purchases. Eight percent of China and Hong Kong buyers see the U.S. as a bargain.
Foreign ownership spans the United States, with a majority of investments made relative to where the investor or investors live. The Asian market tends to lean more toward purchasing real property on the West Coast, as do buyers from Mexico.
How foreign ownership is perceived depends on how one views the United States as a whole. While overseas buy-ups of real estate in America may stimulate the market somewhat, the question remains why isn’t the United States doing more to ensure Americans keep their homes?
The Making Homes Affordable program is slowing down. With more than 2.3 million homes taken over by lenders since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, the government program designed to keep people in their homes at affordable monthly payments suffers complications. More and more homeowners are dropping out of the program primarily due to lenders stonewalling the process.
The outcome, as people are forced from their homes, means depressed values that are crippling the overall housing industry. Construction, once a mainstay industry in the United States, has taken one of the hardest blows. Now, with the assistance of lenders unwilling to help Americans keep their homes, but more than happy to find foreign buyers, it is anyone’s guess as to whether or not the United States of America will find itself with a name change in the not-so-near future.
By: T. Cahill