Growing Number of Foreigners Investing in Orange County Homes

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A growing interest from abroad in real estate in Southern California is increasingly becoming more apparent, according to real estate agents in Orange County who have seen a marked increase in foreign homebuyers shopping for investment properties.

According to a recent report by the Orange County Register, Southern Californian and national real estate agents have seen a “marked increase this year in foreign homebuyers shopping for bargains as the housing market bottomed out.” Agent Kim Chang noted there are numerous meetings with foreign clients who travel to Southern California for a quick “home buying spree”.

The report indicates that many of the Chinese and Asian buyers are paying all cash and buying homes as investment properties, vacation homes, retirement homes or a as a residence for children studying at local schools and universities. The Orange County Register says, “foreign buyers spent an estimated $82.4 billion on U.S. homes in the 12 months ending in March” and according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) most recent survey, that is “up 24% from $66.4 billion the year before.”

Nearly 5% of all U.S. home sales are attributed to foreign buyers, which includes Chinese and Asian buyers but also Canadians who continue to purchase winter homes in warmer U.S. states like Arizona and Florida and Mexicans who invest in South Florida and Texas. In California alone, the NAR reports, “that foreign buyers accounted for 11% of California home sales”. In Orange County and Southern California specifically, overseas buyers are scooping up properties in a significantly higher proportion to the statewide average.

Broker and owner of Spectrum Realty in Irvine, Cayenne Kuang, told The Orange County Register, “I think they’ll keep coming as long as the Chinese government allows them to wire the money out because people there have so much money.”

Jacqueline Thompson of Surterre Properties, added, “I think the Chinese realized the urgency to buy up homes in the U.S. because they see that prices will increase. They’re beginning to realize the U.S. is a safe haven to pack their money in real estate.”

Image courtesy Forbes.

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