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Foreign Buyers Increasingly Interested in U.S.-Based Real Estate

“It’s just that at any given point, who the front runners are changes,” he continued, noting that when he got his start in real estate in the 1980s, Japanese buyers were purchasing a bulk of real estate, whereas in 2017, they only made up 2% of foreign property purchases, according to the NAR report. Like Mr. Genton, Mr. Umansky said he’s seen an increase in money coming from Taiwan and Hong Kong as money from mainland China has decreased, but that the real buyer group that’s emerged of-late in the luxury L.A. market are Brits. In New York, the trend toward Asian buyers is also continuing Like in Los Angeles, broker Rick Pretsfelder of Leslie J. Garfield said that Asian buyers are the most prevalent foreign buyer group that he’s seen this year in Manhattan, representing about 30% to 35% of attendees at high-end showings, and 10% to 15% of purchasers. Buyers from Taiwan and South Korea are also prevalent, he said, while buyers from Eastern Europe and Russia—common purchasers of townhouses seven or eight years ago—are nowhere to be seen. In Miami, Latin American buyers still rule However, in Miami, Asian buyers—including those from mainland China—have never made up a huge part of the foreign buyer mix, said Vanessa Grout, the president of CMC Real Estate, the sales and marketing arm of the CMC Group, which is currently involved with the Brickell Flatiron project. Instead, Latin American buyers—many of whom also must contend with outbound currency restrictions from their country of origin, Ms. Grout noted—have always had the strongest presence in Miami. Instead, buyers today are largely from Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Chile, Ms. Grout said, noting that South and Central American buyers will purchase about 60% of the properties in the 549-unit Brickell Flatiron project. In fact, he expects 90% of the downtown units to go to foreign buyers, with almost all of them coming from Latin America. As the prevalent foreign buyer group changes, just as it always has, Mr. Karmely emphasized that the bigger story here is how foreign buyers’ desire to purchase U.S.-based real estate has continued to expand and accelerate. And that in Miami, they’ve expanded their interest away from the beach and into the downtown core, where four or five years ago, no foreign buyer would have looked, he said.