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This Is Uncomfortable

What do foreign investors see in U.S. housing stock?

Dan Gorenstein Nov 25, 2014
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The housing sector continues to dig out of the deep, deep hole we call “the Recession.”

Some markets are seeing particularly strong growth thanks to foreign investors.

So, what do foreign investors see when they check out U.S. housing stock?

“Affordability, straight up. With multiple exclamation points,” says Stan Humphries, Chief Economist with online real estate firm Zillow.

A report from the National Association of Realtors earlier this year found international investors spent more than $92 billion on U.S. homes, a 35 percent increase over last year.

Humphries says some of the hottest markets in the country are Miami, New York, and Orange County.

He says they can thank their housing recoveries, in part, on this foreign cash.

“We’ve got a lot more international buyers in the U.S. right now than we did eight years ago. And that’s been increasing since 2011,” he says.

Still, all that Chinese and Russian money has a downside, says USC’s Richard Green — Like how it can make it harder on first-time home buyers.

“They are pushing up the price of housing and making less housing available to others,” he says.

Prices are so high in some places  hello, San Francisco  it’s forcing some communities to consider workforce housing, which if the price is right may make a good bet for a Canadian or Chinese investor.

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