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Not-So-Homegrown Home Sales

There’s international appeal in U.S. real estate, and, according to recent IRS data, certain countries seem especially smitten with it, Zillow Research reports.

Back in 2015, non-resident foreigners sold $10.5 billion of U.S. real estate, trouncing the amount sold in 2014 ($8.4 billion) and also in 2013 ($7.5 billion), Zillow reports. The average price of that real estate was $402,321—more than twice the value of the median U.S. home that year ($181,400 as of December 2015), the company says. (A quick aside: The IRS withheld $922.3 million worth of real estate taxes from the 2015 transactions, Zillow notes.)

Canadians composed the largest group of non-residents who sold U.S. real estate in 2015, the report shows. They made up 34 percent of the 26,137 total non-resident foreigners who sealed deals. Germans came next (11 percent), followed by residents of the United Kingdom (8 percent), and Japan (5 percent).

All told, this quartet of countries accounted for 57 percent of all non-resident foreigners who sold U.S. real estate in 2015, Zillow reports. In fact, those four have routinely sat at the top of the U.S. real estate sellers list, including in 2013, the first year for which this type of IRS info is available, the company says.

In terms of the average price of real estate sold by non-resident foreigners, that amount fluctuated considerably across groups. Zooming in on the top-four countries, the average sale price tracked consistently in the mid-$300K range: $328,732 for Canadians, $322,441 for Germans, $313,345 for UK residents, and $317,173 for Japanese, Zillow reports.

The countries with the highest average sale price tend to be “small financial havens,” the company said.

Residents of Macau sold U.S. real estate for the (not-so) average price of $8.4 million in 2015, shadowed by residents of the Cayman Islands ($2.9 million), the Netherlands Antilles ($2.7 million), Monaco ($2 million), Cyprus ($1.6 million), the British Virgin Islands ($1.5 million), and Luxembourg ($1.2 million). This handful of countries accounted for a mere 243 sales in 2015, or 0.9 percent of the total.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the average sale price was lowest in 2015 for non-residents of Colombia ($135,221), Israel ($198,937), Venezuela ($210,564), and Argentina ($236,111), Zillow notes.

About Author: Alison Rich

Alison Rich has a long-time tenure in the writing and editing realm, touting an impressive body of work that has been featured in local and national consumer and trade publications spanning industries and audiences. She has worked for DS News and MReport magazines—both in print and online—since they launched.

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