Economic news around the country has certainly appeared to be dim in the last few months. As if the housing crisis was not enough, now it appears that the country is in the midst of a recession. The dollar has weakened and many consumers find themselves wondering whether relief is in sight. Quite surprisingly, these problems may actually provide some encouragement for foreign investors to rally the housing market.
One of the reasons that many homeowners are finding it difficult to sell their homes is the fact that many would-be buyers either cannot afford the prices or they cannot qualify for mortgage loans. As a result, they have found they have little choice but to continue to rent and wait for the housing market to stabilize before they venture into the home buying process. Some homeowners are finding interested buyers in a surprising source; however. Today, homeowners are just as likely to discover buyers hailing from abroad as from next door.
Experts speculate that investment from Europeans is likely to increase in the coming months. Many speculate that foreign investors have recognized the value in buying homes in the U.S. Prices have declined, making them far more attractive. In fact, in some cases, foreign buyers could be poised to replace the niche that first-time home buyers held before they were squeezed out of the market as a result of the recent real estate crash.
If this trend continues, it could very well provide some relief for homeowners who either need to upgrade to larger homes or who need to get out of homes they can no longer afford.
Brokers are reporting that inquiries from foreign investors are definitely on the rise. Compared to the number of inquiries that were received just a year ago, many brokers are seeing an increase of as much as five times the amount witnessed just a year ago.
A foreign buyer who invests in a home today would need far less money in terms of euros to make a substantial down payment on a home as a result of the weakening dollar. In fact, foreign buyers today could make what is essentially a $50,000 down payment for little more than 34,000 euros today. A year ago that same buyer would have needed nearly 38,000 euros in order to offer the same amount for a down payment. Quite simply, foreign buyers are able to buy homes in the U.S. for less of an investment than American buyers.
The exchange rate has definitely provided support for increased spending power in many locations. In certain areas, like New York and Chicago, the demand has definitely increased. In some cases, the demand has grown so much that it is actually outpacing supply. California and Florida are also proving to be popular with foreign buyers and investors. The latter two markets, which have been among the hardest hit, are embracing the relief with open arms. Florida, in particular, is still struggling with the crash of the condo market.
Sellers and agents have quickly latched onto the idea that the place to look for interested buyers could very well be overseas. As a result, many properties are now being marketed specifically toward foreign buyers. High-end luxury homes that have languished on the market for months are some of the first to be targeted for interested foreign buyers.
The Internet has proven to be a successful marketing tool in the past and today agents and sellers have discovered it is often the easiest way to reach foreign buyers. Compared to other advertising mediums it is often far less expensive and allows them to reach a broader audience. When marketing properties toward foreign buyers, this can be particularly important.
Foreign buyers may not be the full salvation that real estate agents and homeowners need to completely recover from the housing bust; however, they are certainly providing a bit of welcome relief in many beleaguered markets.