Foreign home buyers pull back from the US

The Chinese remain the country’s top property seekers

Chinatown in San Francisco, California. f11photo/Shutterstock

Foreign buyers snapped up fewer US existing homes over the last year, with the Chinese retreating from the property market, revealed an annual survey of issued yesterday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The trade association found that foreign buyers bought existing stateside homes for a total value of USD77.9 billion between April 2018 through March 2019. It marks a 36 percent decline from the preceding year, in which NAR recorded USD121 billion in American homes purchased by foreigners.

“A confluence of many factors – slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale – contributed to the pullback of foreign buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“However, the magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the US.”

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China remained the top foreign buyer of US homes for the seventh annual survey in a row. With purchases recorded at USD13.4 billion during the period tracked, China surpassed all other countries according to dollar volume of purchases, including second-placer Canada that splurged on USD8 billion worth of residences.

The latest figure for China is a drop of 56 percent from the previous 12-month period.

Chinese economic growth decelerated from 6.9 percent in 2017 to 6.3 percent in 2019 thus far, the survey noted. Beijing has also been clamping down on capital outflows since 2016 in a bid to manage the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Around USD33.2 billion of stateside homes were sold to non-resident foreign buyers, down from USD53 billion in the previous year. Home sales to resident foreign buyers also descended from USD67.9 billion to USD44.7 billion.