International homebuyers with permanent residences outside the U.S., recent immigrants and temporary visa holders, last year purchased $66 billion of U.S. residential property, or 7% of the market, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The decline in real estate prices, an oversupply of housing, high foreclosure rates and the weak dollar, in comparison with other currencies, have made the U.S. housing market very attractive to international buyers.
When considering currencies, Europeans have a large advantage. The Euro is 25% stronger than the U.S. dollar. The Canadians have a currency advantage, as well. The value of the Canadian dollar is now equal to the value of the U.S. dollar, making this the best time in decades for Canadians to purchase a home in the U.S.
Canadian buyers currently account for 23% of international purchases in the U.S. That’s the largest portion of all international buyers, up from 11% three years ago. According to a study by Information Market, this year in Phoenix — for the first time on record — buyers from Canada outpaced buyers from California.
Want to jumpstart your international real estate business? Consider obtaining a membership in the Certified International Property Specialist Network (CIPS), a special group within NAR. Through multiple education and networking opportunities, the CIPS Network helps real estate agents capitalize on the lucrative international market. Two years ago, I pursued the prestigious NAR designation and was just the 58 agent in New York State oout of 65,000 agents to have earned it. Up until the end of 2010, there were only about 2,000 CIPS agents in the workd. For more information about the CIPS Network, call me or visit www.realtor.org/international.
Another reason I pursued the CIPS designation was because of the training and instruction on how to work with different ethnic groups by understanding their customs and traditions. This has been extremely helpful since Rochester has many international groups already living here.
Another important factor is the network of CIPS agents around the world. Because of the difficulty in earning this designation, there is a “fraternity-type” connection to other CIPS agents. This has already been helpful in referring a customer that wants to buy in Costa Rica or another in Mexico. Just recently, I received a call from Miami from an agent looking to refer me to an organization that is placing families from South America in Rochester.
The world is becoming smaller all the time. I changed my website name to reflect this movement of international marketplace to Rochester & International Real Estate. I also plan to organize an International Committee in Rochester to help facilitate agents to work with international buyers.