Overseas buyers scooped up $92.2 billion of U.S. real estate last year, driven mainly by wealthy Chinese looking for a safe haven for their families and fortunes. A new report from the National Association of Realtors says sales activity from international buyers surged 35 percent in the 12 months that ended in March. While international buyers represent only 7 percent of total existing home sales nationally over the period, their buying is highly focused on high-end homes in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Chinese buyers were the largest foreign buyers measured by dollar volume, with sales jumping 72 percent over the 12 month period to $22 billion. Chinese buyers now account for 24 percent of all sales made to overseas buyers by dollar volume. Canada was second with $13.8 billion in deals, followed by the United Kingdom and India, each with $5.8 billion. Overseas buyers tend to pay all cash and prefer higher-end homes. Chinese buyers were the biggest spenders. The mean price they paid hit $590,826, and more than half of their purchases were in California, Washington and New York.
-Robert Frank, CNBC.com