Foreign buyers may once again flood the U.S. housing market, and real estate brokers are preparing for their return. The U.S. is lifting travel restrictions for about 33 countries that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccinated visitors from those countries will now be allowed to enter the U.S.
Analysts anticipate that will unlock home buying and home selling activity from overseas buyers, who could generate tens of billions of dollars in real estate sales, CNBC reports. Foreign buyers spent $267 billion on U.S. real estate in 2018 and $183 billion in 2019, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. In 2021, foreign spending on U.S. real estate dropped to $107 billion as travel bans remained in place.
Pandemic restrictions have prevented many foreign real estate buyers from entering the country to view and purchase U.S. properties. Foreign buyers from locales such as Europe, China, Brazil, and India, longtime big buyers of U.S. real estate, will be able to enter the U.S. for the first time in 20 months.
“This represents another upside in demand that just didn’t exist over the last two years,” Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, told CNBC. “It will be especially beneficial to the high-end and luxury market.”
Brokers are preparing for a rush, predicting new construction and higher-end properties will be most in demand.
“We’re expecting a flood of buyers across all our markets in the U.S.,” a representative from Knight Frank told CNBC.
In New York, brokers are reporting already heightened interest from buyers from Europe, particularly the United Kingdom and Germany. In Florida, buyers from Brazil ar likely to make up a large number of foreign buyers. In Los Angeles, buyers from the Middle East will likely drive the market, CNBC reports.
“The coastal cities will be the main beneficiaries,” Miller told CNBC.