51 Facts on Foreign Investment in the US Real Estate [Statistics]

Michele Lawrie, CREO - HomeAbroad  by Michele Lawrie
7 min read

It is no secret that the United States has long been a desirable destination for foreign home buyers. After all, it offers a stable political environment, world-class infrastructure, and access to some of the best educational institutions in the world.

Not surprisingly, then, international transactions in U.S. residential real estate have been on the rise in recent years.

The following report looks at international transactions in U.S. residential real estate. It includes highlights, as well as statistics on foreign buyers, properties purchased, the amount of money spent, location uses, etc.

Let’s dive in.

Highlights: Foreign Investment US Real Estate Statistics

  1. From April 2020 to March 2021, investors from outside the United States bought 107,000 properties worth $54.4 billion in the United States.
  2. Foreign-born individuals make up 14.25 percent of the population in the country’s 50 largest metros, on average. San Jose, Miami, and Los Angeles have the greatest foreign-born populations at 37.56 percent each.
  3. Immigrants who have been in the country for less than a year and those who are on visas that allow them to reside in the United States bought $32.4 billion worth of existing residential properties.
  4. Ex-pats who lived outside the country bought $22 billion worth of existing houses.
  5. 58% of foreign buyers who reside in the United States are recent immigrants (less than two years at the time of the transaction) or non-immigrant visa holders.
  6. The number of international purchasers who made purchases in the United States hit a new high of 2.8 percent of $5.8 trillion in existing-home sales.
  7. Due to the areas and sort of properties sought by foreign purchasers, the median existing-home sales price among international buyers was $351,800, 15% more than the $305,500 median price for all existing homes sold in the United States.
  8. 8% of foreign buyers purchase U.S. homes priced at $1M or more.
  9. Chinese buyers had the highest median purchase price, at $476,500, and more than a third – 34 percent – bought a property in California.
  10. In many American metros, house values are relatively low when compared to the global cities’ center areas. Even in a more expensive US city like San Francisco, per square meter of residential real estate costs $7,180 as opposed to $26,262 in London (UK), $28,570 in Hong Kong (China), $10,947 in Toronto(Canada), $10,932 in Mumbai (India), etc.

Where are International US Property Buyers From?

11. From April 2020 to March 2021, the most number of foreign purchasers for U.S. residential real estate came from Canada, Mexico, China, India, and the United Kingdom (29% of $54.4 billion worth of foreign buyer purchases).

12. China and Canada retained their first and second place rankings in US residential sales dollar volume at $4.5 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively. India ($3.1 billion), Mexico ($2.9 billion), and the United Kingdom ($2.7 billion) were the last three countries in the top five on this metric.

13. Canada emerged as the most popular country of origin for foreign purchasers from April 2020 to March 2021, accounting for 8% of foreign buyer purchases.

14. Mexico was in second place, with a 7% share of all foreign buyers. China fell to the third position, with a 6% market share, after having been the leading country of origin for foreign purchasers since 2015. India and the United Kingdom were tied for fourth place, each with a 4% market share.

15. Asia and Oceania buyers made up the majority of purchasers, with 22% from Asia and Oceania, 19% from Latin America and the Caribbean, 11 percent from Europe, 8 percent from North America (Canada), 4 percent each from Africa and other regions.

Source: NAR

16. Chinese buyers purchased $4.5 billion of existing homes, making it the largest foreign buyer in terms of the dollar volume of homes purchased.

17. The dollar value of all existing-house sales in the United States to Candian foreign buyers reached $4.2 billion.

18. Asian Indian buyers purchased $3.1 billion.

19. Mexican buyers purchased $2.9 billion.

20. Foreign buyers from the United Kingdom bought $2.7 billion.

Foreign Real Estate Buyers Financing Statistics

21. The percentage of foreign buyer purchases that were all-cash sales was 39%.

22. The United Kingdom had the highest proportion of all-cash purchases, with over four out of five purchasers – 82 percent – making such purchases.

23. Two out of five Chinese buyers (40%), two out of three Mexican purchasers (66%), and two out of three Canadian purchasers (67%) made an all-cash buy.

24. Asian buyers were least likely to pay all-cash, with only 8% of them doing so.

Source: NAR

Why are Foreigners Buying Property in the USA?

25. Forty-three percent of foreign buyers purchased the property for primary residence use and 65% purchased detached single-family homes and townhouses.

26. The most common reason for a property’s sale is to rent it out, accounting for 37% of transactions.

27. The average annual gross rental yield for 2021 was 7.7 percent. 

28. Rental prices for multifamily housing in Las Vegas, Nevada rose by 23% between October 2020 and October 2021.

29. 42% of foreign purchasers bought the property for use as a vacation home, rental property, or both.

30. Vacation home sales made up 6% of existing house purchases from April 2020 through March 2021, compared with 5% in the previous year.

31. The most popular use for a Canadian home was as a vacation property, with 84 percent of buyers planning to do so. Around half of UK purchasers bought a house with the primary purpose of using it as holiday accommodation, rental, or both.

32. The majority of Asian Indian buyers, 79 percent, intended to use the property as a primary residence, followed by Mexican purchasers at 42%.

33. Chinese consumers were the most frequent purchasers of a home for student use, accounting for 13% of purchases.

Where are Foreigners Buying Homes in the USA? Statistics

34. Florida remained the most popular destination, with 21% of foreign buyers purchasing property there. Latin America was Florida’s main buyer (34%), Europe came in second (23%), and Canada was third (17%). It was the favorite state destination for both Canadian and United Kingdom purchasers.

35. The second most popular state for foreign buyers was California. Asia/Oceania accounted for 47% of California’s foreign purchasers. It was the favorite destination of Chinese and Asian Indian purchasers in particular.

36. Texas received 9% of foreign buyers. Latin America/Caribbean accounted for 42% of Texas purchases. Among Mexican purchasers, Texas was the top destination, and among Asian Indian purchasers, it was the second favorite destination.

37. The fourth highest state for foreign buyers was Arizona. North America is home to half of the foreign purchasers (Canada). One in four Canadian purchasers bought a property in Arizona, which is also one of Mexico’s top destinations.

38. New Jersey attracted 4% of all purchasers. Asian/Oceania made up half of New Jersey’s buyers. It is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese, Asian Indian, Mexican, and United Kingdom consumers.

39. 4% of foreign purchasers came from New York, with 51% of them being Asian/Oceania. Chinese buyers ranked it as their third favorite destination.

40. Other popular choices were North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, and Michigan, each with a 3% market share. Foreign buyer purchases were reported in 45 states and the District of Columbia by respondents of the poll.

Source: NAR

Type of Residential Property Purchased By International Buyers Statistics

41. 65% of foreign buyer purchases were detached single-family houses and townhouses.

42. Foreign purchasers who live outside of the United States are slightly more likely to purchase condominiums, with 19% opting for condos, compared to foreign purchasers living in the United States, which is 11%.

43. Buyers from Mexico and Asia Indian were the most likely to acquire single-family detached houses since the majority of purchasers wanted to use them as primary residences.

Source: NAR

Types of Areas Where Foreigners Buy Property Statistics

44. When it comes to location, 49 percent of foreign buyers bought houses in a suburb.

45. Asian Indian buyers prefer to live in a suburb because the majority of Asian Indian purchasers purchase real estate as a second or primary house.

46. Chinese buyers had the most purchases in a city, whereas Canadian and UK buyers had the greatest proportion of purchasers who acquired a property in a resort location.

Property Prices for Foreign Home Buyers Statistics

47. Foreign purchasers paid a median price of $351,800 for existing homes in the United States from April 2020–March 2021, which was higher than the overall median price of $305,500 for all existing homes sold in the United States during that period.

48.  During April 2020—March 2021, 9% of foreign purchasers bought houses for more than $1 million, compared to 6% among all existing-home purchasers.

49. When it comes to foreign purchasers who live in the United States, the median purchase price was $375,800, which is greater than the median purchase price for overseas buyers ($331,900).

50. The median purchase price was $538,900 among Asian Indian buyers.

51. The second-highest median purchase price was made by Chinese purchasers, who paid $476,500.


As the demand for housing continues to increase in the United States, foreign investors are playing an increasingly important role in the U.S. residential real estate market. As the USA holds many reasons to invest in the property, the international foreign real estate buyers are going to continue increasing.

The easy buying process and mortgage approval also contribute to the increasing foreign buyer purchases.

If you are also interested in buying a home in the USA as a foreigner, here is a guide for you: How can foreigners buy property in the USA – A Complete Guide


NAR Report




Michele Lawrie, CREO - HomeAbroad
About the author:
Michele Lawrie is the Chief Real Estate Officer at HomeAbroad and has worked as a real estate professional for the past 15 years, helping domestic and foreign national clients navigate the home buying and selling process.
She is passionate about real estate and strives to educate read more...