Conflict & Justice

U.S. real estate a bargain for foreigners

This real estate agent is walking to a house in one of DC's posh areas. The dining room can easily seat more than a dozen. This house is on the market for about $2 million dollars, and the agent believes it'll be snapped up by a foreign investor. One association found most buyers come from the UK, Canada, Mexico, China and India. Some are taking advantage of the cheap dollar and lower taxes, as well as the political stability of the U.S. thanks to the sub-prime crisis, there's a large supply of houses. This French couple that works in DC and have one house here but are looking for another; they plan to spend as much as $800,000 dollars. Local real estate agents say helping foreigners find their dream house is very different than working with Americans. There are cultural differences, and Chinese, for example, want houses that face a certain direction, while Europeans seek a certain aesthetic. This agent has many clients who need a lot of space. According to the latest survey, about 40% of foreign buyers pay in cash, as opposed to about 3% for domestic buyers. This economist says foreigners probably don't occupy a significant proportion of the domestic house owners, but every house bought improves the economic situation here in the U.S.

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