SOURCE: Trulia


July 24, 2012 08:00 ET

Trulia Reports Cooling Foreign Interest in U.S. Real Estate

Share of U.S. Home Searches From Abroad Drops 10 Percent Year Over Year Amid Rising Home Prices and Loss of Previous Lift From Eurozone Financial Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Jul 24, 2012) - Trulia today published its International House Hunter Report, which provides the inside scoop on current foreign interest in the U.S. housing market. Based on all home searches on Trulia between April 1 and June 30, 2012, this report tracks which U.S. metropolitan areas prospective foreign buyers are looking at and how that has changed over time.

Foreign Share of U.S. Home Searches Fell Nearly 10 Percent Year Over Year
Since the housing bubble burst, falling home prices across the U.S. real estate market have attracted foreign home searchers, most notably from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. However, U.S. asking prices rose nationally 0.3 percent Y-o-Y in June after years of price declines. As a result, foreign searches -- as a share of all the searches on Trulia -- fell by nearly 10 percent in the last year. In the past year, the share of foreign-based searches has dropped the most in local markets where prices have risen the fastest. 

Eurozone Crisis No Longer Boosting U.S. Housing Market
Faced with failing banks and massive debt in the Eurozone crisis countries, searches from those countries rose in 2011 as investors there viewed American real estate to be a relatively safe investment compared with keeping assets at home. However, the share of searches on Trulia from the Eurozone crisis countries -- which includes Greece, Italy, Spain and several others -- peaked in the fourth quarter of 2011 and declined 15 percent in the first half of 2012.

International House Hunters Favor Miami and Los Angeles
Foreign home searchers are drawn to markets with warm winters and big post-bubble price declines, which made housing more affordable. Six of the top 10 U.S. metros with the highest share of home searches coming from abroad are in Florida -- with Miami topping the list at 15.7 percent. Rounding out the rest of the list are Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco and Las Vegas. However, many of the markets with the biggest price declines after the bubble burst, like Miami, Cape Coral - Fort Myers FL, and Phoenix, are turning around: they have seen big price rebounds -- and therefore less foreign interest -- in the past year.

#   U.S. Metro   Share of Searches By International House Hunters, 2012 Q2   Share of Searches By International House Hunters, 2011 Q2
1   Miami, FL   15.7%   16.3%
2   Los Angeles, CA   13.7%   13.4%
3   Fort Lauderdale, FL   12.9%   14.2%
4   Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL   10.9%   11.8%
5   Orlando, FL   10.8%   10.7%
6   West Palm Beach, FL   10.3%   12.2%
7   Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL   10.2%   11.9%
8   Honolulu, HI   10.1%   10.7%
9   San Francisco, CA   9.1%   9.5%
10   Las Vegas, NV   9.1%   9.4%


  • "Foreigners attracted to real estate bargains get turned off when prices increase," said Jed Kolko, Trulia's Chief Economist. "Investors want to buy when prices are at their bottom, but they'll start to lose interest when prices rise 15 percent, as they have in Miami and Phoenix. Demand by people looking to scoop up bargains can dry up quickly when prices rise."

  • "Although Europe's financial troubles have been a global economic threat, the Eurozone crisis had a silver lining for U.S. housing in 2011 as Europeans looked to American real estate as a safer investment," said Jed Kolko, Trulia's Chief Economist. "Last year, the share of searches from Greece, Spain and Italy increased, bucking the international trend. Now, however, the foreign search share is declining even from those Eurozone crisis countries."


  • To view an interactive data visualization illustrating the top five U.S. metros where international house hunters are searching, click here.

Trulia gives home buyers, sellers, owners and renters the inside scoop on properties, places and real estate professionals. Trulia has unique info on the areas people want to live that can't be found anywhere else: users can learn about agents, neighborhoods, schools, crime and even ask the local community questions. Real estate professionals use Trulia to connect with millions of transaction-ready buyers and sellers each month via our hyper local advertising services, social recommendations and top-rated mobile apps. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital. Trulia is a registered trademark of Trulia, Inc.

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