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Chinese investors set new record acquiring US real estate

Chinese investors maintained their leading position regarding dollar sales for the fourth consecutive year by spending a record high $31.7bn (£24.1bn) on residential properties in the US in 2016, fresh data shows.

The figure was over 10% higher than the $28.6bn (£21.8bn) spent by Chinese investors in the sector in 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Although the Chinese remain the largest group of foreign property investors across the pond in the USA, NAR’s data shows that investors from Canada have been catching up with residential property transactions at an all-time high of $19bn (£14.5bn).

There is growing demand from Canadian investors seeking an alternative to the high price of real estate in Canada, especially in Toronto and Vancouver.

All in all, overseas nationals, along with recent migrants, purchased a record $150.3bn (£114.4bn) worth of US real estate, marking a 49% year-over-year rise, NAR said.

International buyers bought 284,455 residential properties, which accounts for 10% of the dollar volume of existing home sales.

Florida (22%), California (12%) and Texas (12%) remain the top destinations for foreign buyers, according to the agency.

Canadians reportedly prefer Florida, Chinese investors tend to opt for California, while Mexican buyers mostly buy residential property in Texas.

NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said: “The political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad did not deter foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of US property over the past year.

“While the strengthening of the US dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home-price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the US is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest.” 

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