A National Association of Realtors study estimated that foreigners and immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. less than two years spent $82.5 billion on U.S. homes in the 12 months ended March 31. That’s about 9% of the total paid for all U.S. housing purchases during the period.

When some foreigners buy U.S. businesses, they also buy real estate. That’s because anyone who invests $1 million in a U.S. company and creates 10 jobs can qualify for an “EB-5” visa and eventual citizenship.

Wealthy Mexicans take advantage of it to get their families out of crime-ridden areas south of the border. In fact, the National Association of Realtors found that Mexicans accounted for 8% of all sales to foreigners and recent immigrants in the last 12 months. Other top buyers: Canada (24% of all sales to non-U.S. nationals), China (11%), India (6%) and Britain (6%).

Buyers from different countries favor different parts of America. For instance, the NAR found that lots of Germans have bought property in southwest Florida, while many Canadians gravitate toward Arizona.


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