From May 25th through July 13th, Mainstreet conducted a survey to all of their members (over 18,000) with the goal of gathering information about international residential real estate transactions of Mainstreet members from April 2019 through March 2020. Mainstreet received 1,586 responses, of which 141 respondents reported an international buyer.
In this study, the term international or foreign client refers to two types of non-U.S. citizens:
Non-resident (Type A): non-U.S. citizens who primarily reside outside the U.S. and who doesn’t stay in the U.S. year-round.
Resident (Type B): non-U.S. citizens who reside in the U.S. on non-immigrant visas (e.g., diplomats, foreign students, foreign workers) or recent immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than two years as of the time of the transaction.
Major reasons why foreign clients decided not to purchase property were because of cost of property (14%), property taxes (13%), could not find property (13%), and could not obtain financing (10%).
International Residential Buyers
According to the survey, 32% of the foreign buyers were from Asia/Oceania, this was followed by 21% from Europe, 21% from Latin America/Caribbean, 4% from Africa, and 1% from North America. Top foreign buyers were from Mexico (16%), India (13%), China (9%), Poland (7%), and Ireland (3%). The top destinations for the buyers were in Cook (43%) and DuPage (25%) Counties.
In regards to the buyers from Mexico, 91% were Type B and purchased properties primarily in Cook and Lake County. The median purchase price was $150,001 to $200,000, with 100% of the purchased properties being for primary residence use.
Of the buyers from India, 100% of them were Type B buyers that purchased property primarily in Cook and DuPage Counties. The median purchase price was $250,001 to $300,000, with 80% of the purchased properties being for primary residence use.
In contrast to Mexico and India’s purchases, 57% of the buyers were Type B, but still primarily purchased in DuPage and Cook Counties. The median purchase price was $300,001 to $350,000 with only 43% of purchased properties being for primary residence use.
Of the buyers from Poland, 80% were Type B buyers that purchased properties in only Cook County. The median purchase price was $150,001 to $200,000 with only 25% of the purchased properties being for primary residence use.
Unlike the previous countries, all of the buyers from Ireland were Type A buyers, but purchased only in Cook County. The median purchase price was $200,000 to $250,000 and there was an even split between purchasing the property for residence and vacation use.
In addition to purchasing property in the U.S., international clients were also selling their U.S. property. According to the survey, 51% of clients from Asia/Oceania sold their U.S. property, followed by 17% from Europe, 17% from Latin America, and 3% from North America.