2022 International Transaction Summary
A report from National Associate of Realtors (NAR)
8 min read

The United States attracts people from across the globe who want to live, work, and study here, making international clients an important market niche for realtors. The NAR conducts an annual survey to measure the size of U.S. residential real estate transactions with international clients and gather information on their preferences and challenges. The 2022 Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate provides insights on transactions between April 2021 and March 2022, including information on U.S. clients seeking property abroad. The report is based on an online survey sent to randomly selected REALTORS® and local associations, with a total of 9,397 respondents, including 1,101 reporting an international residential foreign buyer. The data is derived from the most recent closed transactions of the respondents.




USD volume of foreign purchases April 2021-March 2022

$59 Billion

Number of foreign buyer existing home purchase April 2021-March 2022

98,600 (1.6% of 6.06 million existing-home sales)

Top Buyers by Country

· Canada (11%)

· Mexico (8%)

· China (6%)

· India (5%)

· Brazil (3%)

· Colombia (3%)

Top Destinations

· Florida (24%)

· California (11%)

· Texas (8%)

· Arizona (7%)

· New York (4%)

· North Carolina (4%)

Foreign buyers who paid all-cash




  • Non-resident foreigners (Type A): Non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the U.S.
  • Resident foreigners (Type B): Non-U.S. citizens who are recent immigrants (less than two years at the time of the transaction) or non-immigrant visa holders who reside for more than six months in the U.S. for professional, educational, or other reasons.


Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, economic events were primarily influenced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its various variants. With vaccination efforts, safety protocols, and significant monetary and fiscal policies to prevent a deep recession, the global economy experienced a robust V-shaped recovery in 2021. World gross domestic product increased by 6.1% following a 3.1% contraction in 2020, with Asia (7.3%) and the United States (5.7%) showing the strongest growth. Many countries, including the United States, lifted their travel bans, allowing vaccinated individuals to enter. While travel regulations and safety protocols remain in place, the easing of restrictions and progress in vaccinations have led to a gradual increase in travel. In February 2022, significant growth in arrivals was observed from Canada, Western Europe, and Mexico, while arrivals from Asia showed the smallest increase. However, overall tourist arrivals still remain below pre-pandemic levels, with the United States receiving 45% of the arrivals compared to February 2020. The strongest recovery has been seen in arrivals from Mexico, Central America, Western Europe, and Canada, while arrivals from Asia have recovered the least.




U.S. existing-home sales reached their highest at 6.12 million sales in 2021, supported by historically low mortgage rates of 3%. However, as mortgage rates increased to around 5% due to the Federal Reserve raising the federal funds rate, sales began to slow down in both existing and new home sales. Despite the slowdown, the U.S. housing market remains undersupplied, leading to a floor in home prices. Diversification into USD from foreign currency offers an additional benefit in investing in US real estate. However, U.S. single-family home prices are still comparatively affordable compared to central business district properties in other countries.



Foreign buyers faced challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a decline in the number of existing homes purchased by foreign buyers to the lowest level since 2009. From April 2021 to March 2022, there were 98,600 foreign buyer purchases, a 7.9% decrease compared to the previous period. However, despite the decrease in the number of purchases, the dollar volume of foreign buyer purchases increased by 8.5% to $59 billion. This increase was driven by higher average purchase prices, which rose to $598,200, an 18% year-over-year increase. The rise in average prices can be attributed to the overall increase in U.S. home prices. Foreign buyers accounted for a smaller share of the existing home sales market, with their share decreasing to 1.6% of total purchases and the dollar volume of their purchases representing 2.6% of the total sales volume.







The median purchase price of existing homes bought by foreign buyers was $366,100, slightly higher than the median price of $355,700 for all existing homes sold in the U.S. from April 2021 to March 2022. This price difference is due to the location and type of properties preferred by foreign buyers. Around 10% of foreign buyers purchased properties valued over $1 million, compared to 6% among all existing-home buyers. Type B buyers often purchase homes for primary residence, including single-family homes, which tend to be pricier than the vacation or rental properties preferred by Type A buyers, who often purchase condominiums.



» MORE: See Jia Finance article on financing options for foreign nationals

Due to limited financing options, foreign buyers tend to make more all-cash purchases compared to domestic buyers. See Jia Finance article on financing options for foreign nationals. The share of all-cash purchases among foreign buyers increased to 44%, whereas it was 24% among all buyers of existing homes. The competition for limited homes on the market has led to a rise in cash offers. Non-resident foreign buyers are more likely to make all-cash purchases than foreign buyers who reside in the U.S., with 60% of non-resident buyers opting for all-cash transactions compared to 30% among resident buyers. Canadian, Colombian, and Chinese buyers had the highest proportions of all-cash purchase, on the other hand, Asian Indian buyers had the lowest share of cash sales.




44% percent of foreign buyers purchased properties for vacation, rental purposes, or both. Among foreign buyers residing abroad, two-thirds bought properties for vacation or rental purposes, while only one-fourth of buyers living in the U.S. did the same. Nationally, homes purchased for vacation or rental use accounted for 17% of existing-home sales. Factors such as the lifting of travel bans in November 2021, the ability to work remotely, and strong rental growth have increased the appeal of purchasing a home for vacation or rental purposes. Canadian buyers had the highest share of purchasing homes for vacation use, at 58%. Foreign buyers tend to purchase property in suburban areas, garnering 46% of foreign buyer purchases.




» MORE: For best investment financing terms, see Jia Finance foreign nation program



With the easing of pandemic travel bans, the percentage of real estate agents who reported working with international clients increased to 17% between April 2020 to March 2021. Additionally, 18% of respondents reported an increase in their international client business over the past year, compared to 14% in the prior period. Looking ahead, 43% of respondents anticipate an increase (23%) or stable (20%) international transaction activity over the next 12 months.




On the contrary, for U.S. clients interested in purchasing property abroad, around 9% of respondents reported having clients who were seeking to purchase property in another country. The majority of US clients were primarily interested in properties for rental or vacation purposes (65%). Mexico emerged as a favored country among clients looking to purchase property abroad, followed Costa Rica, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. China stood out as the top destination among Asian countries. Spain, Canada, Portugal, Germany, and France were also popular countries of interest for US clients.




38% of realtors reported they had a client who decided not to purchase U.S. residential property. The biggest factors for the fallouts were “cost of property” (65%) and “could not obtain financing” (24%).

Jia Finance offers solutions to foreign buyers who want to purchase US real estate for investment purposes. Jia offers a range of products to qualify the borrower for a transaction. With Jia’s interest only program, the cost of financing for the property is lowered, making it easier for eligibility. Moreover, Jia offers a No Ratio program, for high cost of the properties that have rents insufficient to cover the monthly mortgage plus taxes/insurance cost.

» MORE: See Jia Finance article on financing options for foreign nationals




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