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As Asking Prices Rise, Foreign Buyer Activity Falls

Higher asking prices drove off foreign homebuyers and investors over the last year, with real estate firm citing a 10 percent decline in foreign interest for the U.S. housing market.

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Releasing its International House Hunter Report Thursday, ""Trulia"":http://www.trulia.com/ found that asking prices rose 0.3 percent year-over-year, nixing helpful influence from still-falling home prices.

The housing bust attracted a number of foreign and cash buyers interested in low prices and the safe haven of U.S. real estate investment.

""Foreigners attracted to real estate bargains get turned off when prices increase,"" ""Jed Kolko"":http://www.trulia.com/about/people/jed-kolko, chief economist with Trulia, said in a statement. ""Investors want to buy when prices are at their bottom, but they'll start to lose interest when prices rise 15 percent, as they have in Miami and Phoenix. Demand by people looking to scoop up bargains can dry up quickly when prices rise.""

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The decline in overseas buyer and investor activity ran steep year-over-year.

In Miami, a traditionally popular area among foreign buyers, international house hunters fell from 16.3 percent in June last year to 15.7 percent this year.

Other places in Florida likewise saw dips in their overseas buyer activity. Fort Lauderdale observed a drop from 14.2 percent last year to 12.9 percent this year, while West Palm Beach saw declines that ran from 12.2 percent to 10.3 percent.

Los Angeles, another hub of foreign buyer activity, came in just behind Miami for year-over-year declines in international house hunters, slumping from 13.4 percent last year to 13.7 percent this year.

Other areas saw a climb in activity. House-hunting activity picked up in tourist destination Orlando, increasing from 10.7 percent to 10.8 percent.

The Trulia report made a nod to the ongoing debt crisis in Europe, a helpful influence on housing activity that kept Treasury yields and interest rates for mortgage loans correspondingly low this year.

""Although Europe's financial troubles have been a global economic threat, the Eurozone crisis had a silver lining for U.S. housing in 2011 as Europeans looked to American real estate as a safer investment,"" Kolko added.

""Last year, the share of searches from Greece, Spain and Italy increased, bucking the international trend. Now, however, the foreign search share is declining even from those Eurozone crisis countries,"" he said.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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