International Property
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Miami’s South Beach is seen in Florida. Florida was the top destination for foreign buyers of US property. Photo: Shutterstock

China’s buyers are snapping up abodes in Marco Rubio’s Florida home base, splurging US$6.1 billion on US real estate to top US list for 10th year

  • Investments by buyers from China - including Hong Kong and Taiwan - rose 27 per cent in the 12 months ended March, more than any other nationality
  • Florida and California were the two favourite states for Chinese buyers of US real estate, according to the US National Association of Realtors (NAR)

The Chinese topped the list of overseas buyers of US homes for the 10th consecutive year, according to the US National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The NAR, which groups together buyers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said investors spent US$6.1 billion on property purchases in the 12 months ended March, an increase of 27 per from a year ago. Six out of 10 Chinese investors settled their purchases in cash.

Overall, foreign investors bought US$59 billion of residential units, up 8.5 per cent from the previous year and snapping three consecutive years of declines, according to the NAR, which represents 1.5 million members in the residential and commercial real estate industries. International buyers accounted for 2.6 per cent of the US$2.3 trillion property market during the period.

Foreigners acquired 98,600 existing homes, accounting for 1.6 per cent of the total 6.12 million units sold in the period. It was, however, the lowest purchase by overseas buyers since NAR began tracking data in 2009.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. The US state was the most popular destination among property buyers from China. Photo: Shutterstock

“For the second year in a row, restrictions and general caution tied to international travel during the pandemic slowed home buying by wealthier foreign buyers,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

The Chinese have been the largest foreign buyers of US homes since 2013, NAR said. In the last 10 years, Chinese investors have bought US$188.6 billion worth of property, accounting for over a fifth of the total US$906.2 billion investment in the period.

Meanwhile, the increase in US home prices pushed the average and median prices among international buyers to record highs of US$598,200 and US$366,100, respectively. The monthly average existing-home sales price in the US during the period rose 10 per cent to US$374,300.

Chinese investment in US homes contracts by the most in 10 years

Chinese buyers’ average purchase price of just over US$1 million was the highest among foreign buyers, with nearly a third purchasing property in California.

More than four out of every 10 international buyer transactions were made via all-cash purchases, nearly twice the rate of all such acquisitions. The Canadians were most likely to acquire homes through outright cash purchases, with seven out of 10 paying cash. They were followed by the Chinese at 58 per cent.

While rising interest rates are likely to lead to a decline in overall home sales in the US this year, foreign buyers are likely to step up purchases, said Yun.

“Those making all-cash offers will be immune from changes in interest rates,” he said. “In addition, international flights have increased in recent months with the lifting of pandemic-related travel restrictions.”

For the 14th straight year, Florida was the top destination for foreign buyers, accounting for about a quarter of all overseas purchases.


Miami to get world’s first ‘Covid-ready’ skyscraper

Miami to get world’s first ‘Covid-ready’ skyscraper

Florida is the power base of the Republican senator and former presidential contender Marco Rubio, one of the party’s biggest China critics.

Among the 96 Rubio-sponsored bills that have been enacted into law are the Uygur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, and the Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020, according to data from the US Congress.

California came second, netting 11 per cent of all investment, followed by Texas, Arizona, New York and North Carolina. California and New York were the preferred destinations for two out of every five Chinese buyers.

The outlook for Chinese investment in US property is uncertain, according to Kashif Ansari, co-founder and group CEO of Juwai IQI, pointing to the strengthening dollar.

“It remains to be seen if the almighty US dollar, which has appreciated more than 6 per cent against the Chinese yuan, can stem the investment flow,” said Ansari.