Chinese Buyers


PHOTO: China, the largest foreign investor is showing less appetite for American housing market. (Photo: Getty Images)

Home sales perked up in July, a report this week showed, but they’re still down significantly so far this year compared with 2018, even with lower mortgage rates.

While analysts typically blame high prices and growing worries about a possible recession, another factor is also playing a prominent role: Foreign buyers, particularly the Chinese, have pulled back sharply from the U.S. real estate market.

Foreign investors purchased $77.9 billion in residential property in the 12 months ending in March, down 36% from the previous 12-month period, the National Association of Realtors said in a recent report.

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China, meanwhile, topped all other countries for the seventh consecutive year, with $13.4 billion in home purchases, but that was down a whopping 56% from the prior year, NAR said. About half those sales were all-cash, down from 58% a year earlier. The next largest international buyers  – Canada, India and the United Kingdom – also had big drops, but they represent smaller shares of the market.