Despite a recent slowdown, the U.S. real estate market continues to be a popular investment destination for foreign investors. Attracted by a desirable return on investment, many foreign nations continue to invest heavily in the U.S. residential and commercial real estate markets. In fact, in 2005, foreign investment in U.S. real estate reached 1.83 trillion.
To evaluate the impact of foreign investment on the U.S. real estate market, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) produced a 2006 report entitled ‘Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate: Current Trends and Historical Perspective.’ The report provides insights into the trends in foreign real estate investment, its impact on the U.S. economy, and the major countries that participate in U.S. real estate investment. Below are some highlights from the NAR report.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the top seven countries that had significant holdings in U.S. real estate as of 2005 were:
Germany – 13 %
Latin America – 13 %
Australia – 11 %
Japan -10 %
United Kingdom – 10 %
Canada – 6 %
Netherlands – 6 %
The U.S. economy is wide open to foreign investors. Both investors and Americans significantly benefit from all this foreign investment. The NAR study estimates that without foreign investments in the securities market, the long-term lending rates would be four percentage points higher than the current rate, which would adversely impact the U.S. real estate market.
Foreign direct investment into the U.S. not only creates more jobs but also contributes to the demand for U.S. real estate. In fact, foreign investment may be responsible for creating two million U.S. jobs by the end of 2006, which further bolsters the demand for U.S. real estate.
Permanent and temporary immigration of foreign-born workers into the U.S. further bolsters the demand for real estate. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 1.2 million net immigrants are expected to arrive in the United States annually. This immigration pattern is expected to offset the decrease in housing demand by post baby-boomer generations.
In summary, the impact of foreign investment and immigration into the U.S. will continue to play a major role in the U.S. real estate market.