International real estate is multi-faceted. Not only do international clients choose to purchase U.S. real estate, U.S. clients are also interested in purchasing property abroad. Approximately 14 percent of responding REALTORS® reported that they had a client who was seeking to purchase property in another country compared to six percent in the previous 12-month period, according to NAR’s recently released 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate.
Among REALTORS® who had clients interested in purchasing property abroad, the countries that generated the most inquiries were Mexico, Costa Rica, Philippines, Colombia, and Canada. Spain, Brazil, Thailand, and Italy were also countries of interest to domestic clients searching for property abroad.
The vast majority of U.S. clients seeking property abroad were interested in residential property (79 percent), and a slim majority of those seeking residential property were interested in purchasing a detached single-family home (53 percent) while nearly a third (30 percent) were interested in a condominium. Most clients (87 percent) were looking to use the property as a vacation home and/or residential rental unit. Only nine percent of U.S. clients were seeking a primary residence abroad.
Among all respondents, four percent reported that they referred an interested buyer to a business contact outside the United States, three percent helped the client directly, and one percent referred the client to a business contact in the United States who works with international clients. About six percent of respondents reported that they had a client interested in purchasing property abroad but could not refer the client to anyone to assist in the purchase process.