August 14, 2016

Foreigners With Giant Piles of Cash Are Not Buying All The Homes

In certain hot real estate markets I see people claiming that rich foreigners are coming in with millions of dollars and buying up homes and thus driving up the market.    Now I'm sure this happens some but when I saw these claims I couldn't find much solid data on the amount of foreign cash purchases of homes in specific markets.

I did however just find a report showing the total % of homes that are not owned by citizens per major city.
From Bloomberg: Most Non-citizen Homeowners

The % values range from 2-7% mostly in the 2-5% range.  

Now, they say "non-citizen" which Im' going to hazard a guess includes some "non-legal" residents.    I'm not sure on that point but I think its feasible.   Also notice the largest % figures are in Southern cities in TX and AZ.  

San Jose, CA is one city where there are a lot of expensive homes and I've heard there are cash buyers from China.   San Jose is at #4 on the list at 5.8%.    Now thats a significant % really in a market but its not exactly some sort of flood of foreign money.  



  1. non-citizen certainly would include non-legal residents but it would also include legal residents. Namely those who are on a work visa such as H1-B and those who have a permanent residence card known as a green card. Many people take multiple decades to move from a work visa to a green card to citizenship. So the number in that non-citizen category includes multiple categories of people who are not rich foreigners.

    San Jose is also a tech hot bed which is the number 1 category of H1-B visa holders. I would venture to guess that San Jose has one of the highest level of legal resident aliens who own houses but are not citizens. That 5.8% is likely inflated by legal residents of this status.


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