International buyers prefer purchasing properties in the United States because they view the country as a safe place to invest their money, according to the California Association of Realtors’ 2013 International Clients Survey.
Santa Clara County ranks among the top locations where foreign buyers purchased properties last year. The survey noted that a vast majority (85 percent) of international buyers said they considered purchasing a home in the U.S. exclusively.
Sara Sutachan, California Association of Realtors manager of broker and real estate finance outreach, told Silicon Valley Association of Realtors members recently that the number of international buyers has grown since the recession, with many purchasing properties in cash. International buyers accounted for 8 percent of California homebuyers in 2013, compared with 6 percent in 2009.
Although home prices are on the rise, international buyers still consider the U.S. a top location.
“They will continue to be around, because U.S. property is still less expensive and has a lot of investment potential compared to other places in the world,” Sutachan said.
In the survey, international buyers cited the stable government and financial system as reasons they deem the U.S. a safe place to invest. They also chose to purchase property in the U.S. for its desirable location and climate (20 percent), to be closer to family and friends (20 percent), investment opportunities (9 percent), changes in work and employment (9 percent), educational opportunities (6 percent) and affordable prices (4 percent).
In California, the top location for international buyers was Los Angeles County (35 percent). International buyers also purchased homes in Orange (22 percent), San Diego (20 percent), Riverside (14 percent), Contra Costa (7 percent) and Santa Clara (7 percent) counties.
Approximately 69 percent of international buyers paid cash for their properties, compared with 27 percent of traditional buyers. International buyers purchased property in the U.S. primarily for investment purposes or tax advantages (18 percent), to rent out (14 percent) or because of a job change/relocation (12 percent). Traditional homebuyers, on the other hand, purchased primarily because they were tired of renting (23 percent).
According to the survey, last year’s international buyers came primarily from China (32 percent), Canada (16 percent) and Mexico (11 percent).