Foreigners Snap Up Properties in the U.S.

From the Wall Street Journal REAL ESTATE | Updated June 12, 2012, 12:08 p.m. ET

By NICK TIMIRAOS

The six-year slide in U.S. home prices and the dollar's weakness against some currencies are driving a property-buying binge by Asians, Canadians, Europeans and Latin Americans eager to own a piece of America.          **VIDEO**

Plowing money into real estate may sound like a risky venture to many Americans. But to growing numbers of foreigners, U.S. housing has never seemed a smarter investment.

International buyers accounted for $82.5 billion, or 8.9%, of the $928 billion spent on residential real estate in the 12-month period that ended in March, according a survey released Monday by the National Association of Realtors. That was up 24% from $66.4 billion in the previous-year period.

The survey showed that about 55% of all international buyers came from five countries: Canada, China, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. Five states, meanwhile, accounted for around 55% of all sales to international buyers: Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and New York. The survey found that 62% of international buyers paid in cash.