Investing in US properties is popular with investors around the world. This popularity is driven by the country's economic strength, affordable prices and sheer breadth of opportunities on offer. According to subscription data from property and investment portal RealtyTrac, the ten biggest countries when it comes to international purchases of US homes are:
Between 2009 and 2013, interest in US properties from German investors nearly doubled, with growth of 95%. Overall, they accounted for 2.6% of international home buyers in that period.
Swedish interest in US residential property grew by a full 100% between 2009 and 2013, with the majority of that growth happening in the last twelve months of the period. With the Swedish economy relatively unmoving, many individuals have turned towards overseas investments.
Investors from Canada are frequently drawn to US properties. With the countries bordering one another and bearing close cultural links, this is perhaps unsurprising. Canada has a strong economy, but a housing market that some consider overpriced, leading many to consider property investments abroad.
Australian investors have benefited from strong economic growth. For the past two years, Australia has experienced levels almost double the average for developed countries. Their attention has been drawn to America specifically in part by strong gains for the Aussie dollar against its US counterpart.
6. The United Kingdom
UK investment in US homes has grown apace in recent years. Concerns about property prices at home, lower prices in the US, and the reputation that US properties have for being both safe and profitable are all factors that have contributed to this.
Many countries have seen a surge of interest in US property investment thanks to economic growth. For Italy, the situation is the opposite. Shrinking GDP has led many investors to look at overseas opportunities instead of properties at home, with much of this interest flowing towards the USA.
France has seen particularly rapid growth in investors looking at homes in the USA. Based on RealtyTrac searches, this grew by 60% in 2013 alone, and tripled in the period from 2009-2013. France has a large number of ultra-high net worth individuals, but a faltering economy and high taxes have led these individuals to look abroad when investing their funds.
3. China/Hong Kong
China and Hong Kong accounted for more international property searches on RealtyTrac than any other non-English speaking country. A wealthy population, combined with fears over the safety of Chinese investments amid slowing growth and shadow banking concerns, have led many of them to consider investing funds in the USA.
In spite of its small size and a total population lower than that of some individual cities, Switzerland is home to a relatively high number of wealthy individuals. The interest these individuals show in US investments is partly down to the Swiss franc's very strong performance against the dollar.
1. The United Arab Emirates
The single largest national increase in RealtyTrac subscriptions came from the United Arab Emirates, with a boom of 352%. Like Switzerland, the country has a population of only a few million. However, partly thanks to the oil industry, this includes a high percentage of wealthy individuals who can afford international property investments.