Field Guide to Foreign Investment Trends in the U.S.

(Updated August 2016)

Despite potential risks such as a depressed housing market, dealing with foreign laws, fluctuating exchange rates, etc., cross-border investment is expected to accelerate as domestic investors seek high returns abroad and foreign investors take advantage of a weakened dollar. The steadily rising influx of capital into U.S. markets and limited supply of product have altered the way the game is played. This Field Guide offers information and sources for those considering foreign investment opportunities. (D. Winchester, Information Specialist)

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Ranking of U.S. Cities for Real Estate Investment (2015)

  • New York City, NY
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Seattle, WA
  • Boston, MA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Miami, FL
  • Austin, TX
  • Houston, TX

Source: 2016 AFIRE Annual Foreign Investment Survey

Foreign Investment Trends​ in the U.S.

Foreign real estate investment in U.S. declined in the last year, (Housingwire, July 6, 2016).

How International Issues Affect Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate, (USNews, May 27, 2016).

Why Washington Is Making It Easier For Rich Foreigners To Buy U.S. Real Estate, (Forbes, Feb. 3, 2016).

U.S. Real Estate to Draw More Foreigners in 2016, Survey Says, (Bloomberg, Jan. 3, 2016).

How Do Foreign Buyers Decide on a U.S. Location for a Home Purchase?, (Economist Outlook, July 13, 2015).

Profile of International Home Buying Activity, (National Association of REALTORS® - Research, June 17, 2015).

Chinese Dominate as Buyers of U.S. Real Estate, (REALTOR® Magazine, June 19, 2015).

Foreign Buyers Spend More on U.S. Real Estate, (REALTOR® Magazine, June, 18, 2015).

Chinese Buyers Replace Canadians as Top Foreign Buyers of U.S. Homes, (Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2015).

New York Real Estate Overpoweringly Attracts Local and Global Investment, (Huffington Post, June 5, 2015).

Optimism Grows as Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate Surges, (National Mortgage News, June 4, 2015).

8 Countries Where There's a Rush for U.S. Real Estate, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 15, 2014).

Foreign buyers show interest in Pacific Northwest ranches, (The Idaho Business Review, Apr. 1, 2014). E

Hooks and Hurdles for Chinese Investors in the U.S., (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 2014).

US dominates list for foreign real estate investors, (CNBC, Jan. 7, 2014).

Foreign Home Buyers Continue to Identify U.S. as Profitable Investment, Realtors® Report, (National Association of REALTORS®, June 14, 2013).

The 2012 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity, (National Association of REALTORS® - Research, 2012).

Economy Watch: U.S. Still Number One Among Foreign CRE Investors, (MHN Online, Jan. 2, 2012).

U.S. is top 2012 property investment pick, (Reuters, Jan. 1, 2012).

International Investors Look to U.S. Real Estate, (Reit, Dec. 21, 2011).

Reforms to the Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act Will Spur Investment, Create Jobs and Encourage Economic Growth, (Capital Markets, June 23, 2011).

Foreign Investors Hover Over U.S. Real Estate, But Few Swoop In, (CoStar Group, Sept. 15, 2010).

German firms scour U.S. for deals---commercial property is scooped up at discounted prices as market wobbles, (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 28, 2009).

Why foreign investment lags in U.S. apartments sector, (National Real Estate Investor, July 2009). 

Foreign activity one bright spot in market, (Pensions & Investments, Mar. 9, 2009). E

Foreign investors: An unexpected financing source in a contracting real estate marketplace, (Real Estate Finance, Oct. 2008). E

U.S. home prices lure foreigners, (Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2008).

Foreign investment in U.S. real property, (The CPA Journal, Dec. 2007). E

Investing in Foreign Markets

Why The Best Investment In 2016 Might Be Global Real Estate, (Forbes, Jan. 5, 2016).

How Foreign Real Estate Investors Are Changing Canada's Skyline, (Forbes, June 17, 2015).

Americans are scooping up real estate bargains... overseas, (CNN Money, May 15, 2015).

You Too Can Be a Global Real Estate Investor, (New York Times, Feb. 9, 2015).

Where International Real Estate Is Booming, (Investopedia, Nov. 13, 2014).

Top 10 international places to invest in real estate, (CBS News, Sept. 6, 2014).

Is Now The Time To Buy International Real Estate?, (Forbes, Aug 20, 2013).

China beats US as top destination for foreign investment, (GlobalPost, Oct. 26, 2012).

Things You Must Know Before Investing in Overseas Real Estate Market, (Real Estate India, July 11, 2011).

India tops real estate investment market list in Asia for 2010, (Indian Realty News, Dec. 15, 2009).

International real estate investment: What investors should know, (NuWire Investors, Mar. 8, 2008).

Investing in foreign real estate goes mainstream, (Kiplinger, Dec. 2006).

Useful Websites

Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE)—Provides information and research on foreign investment trends in real estate.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis—Advocates and promotes international real estate investments. Provides an forum for investors to meet and exchange information through regularly scheduled meetings in the United States and Europe.

eBooks & Other Resources

The following Books and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Global Real Estate Investment Trusts, (Adobe eReader, Kindle)

Passport to Exotic Real Estate, (Adobe eReader, Kindle)

How to Invest In Offshore Real Estate and Pay Little or No Taxes, (Adobe eReader)

International Real Estate Handbook, (Adobe eReader)

No Going Back - Buying Abroad, (Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to China Real Estate

Field Guide to Marketing to the Hispanic Community

Field Guide to REALTORS® and the Global Marketplace

Information Services Blog

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