For quite a while, Acton MA residential real estate holders – that is, homeowners – haven’t had to work very hard to come up with a description for the U.S. real estate market. ‘Lousy’ certainly came to mind. ‘Bleak’ was a strong contender. ‘Cautiously optimistic,’ at best a distant third.
So this month’s Wall Street Journal report came as a quiet reminder that, for serious-minded investors who view our situation from a less-involved perspective, our residential real estate outlook is neither lousy nor bleak. In fact, the combination of lower residential prices and the international currency environment has created a ‘property-buying binge’ by Asians, Canadians, Europeans and Latin Americans – more than 60% of whom pay in cash.
“There’s this international view that America is on sale,” according to one property manager. He should know; he’s an executive whose Chicago-based company buys foreclosed homes and manages them for investors. A year ago, all of his investors were domestic. Now, one in five is foreign.
Whereas before, most foreign residential real estate investors were interested in ‘trophy’ properties to enhance their personal prestige, the new onslaught is coming from buyers who see that they can earn high returns by buying here, renting, then reselling in the future when the market rebounds. It seems that in many countries, a residential real estate downturn is expected, but has yet to occur. In their estimation, ours is already history.
It looks like “a gift,” according to one developer, who judges that an oceanfront condominium in Rio de Janeiro sells a level 50% higher than an equivalent property in Miami. International or domestic, investment money is always drawn to bargains --- but when bargain basement prices are combined with the perceived safety represented by U.S. residential real estate, the lure is apparently irresistible.
“FOREIGNERS SNAP UP PROPERTIES IN THE U.S.” was Nick Timiraos’ headline, with a caption that read, “To many Americans, plowing money into real estate has never looked like such a risky venture. But to many foreigners, U.S. housing has never looked like a smarter investment.”
Thanks, Nick, for giving us some outside perspective; I guess we can adopt the ‘cautiously optimistic’ view with a lot more confidence. If you have been waiting on the sidelines to make your own Acton or Concord residential real estate investment, I hope you will give me a call when you decide that now is the time. I’m standing by to help you find the property you’re looking for!