Facebook investor and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner made worldwide headlines recently when he purchased a Los Altos Hills estate for a reported $100 million, the most expensive residential real estate deal in the U.S.
But while Milner’s purchase caught the attention of reporters here at home and the paparazzi around the world, he’s not the only foreign buyer to be placing bets on the Bay Area housing market.
Offshore buyers are flocking toward the United States in today’s economic environment for a number of reasons. U.S. homes are generally less expensive than comparable foreign properties. Investors understand that U.S. real estate prices are unusually low right now and in the long run could be a great investment.
Additionally, the U.S. is looked upon as a secure and stable place to own property. Some buyers are concerned with the stability of the financial markets and believe that investing in real estate is a safer place to put money today.
Silicon Valley and the Bay Area have long been considered highly attractive to foreign investors. Having the world’s leading technology hub in our backyard is a primary reason for this interest. Our tech industry attracts top-flight engineers and other highly educated, well-paid professionals from around the world. The growing number of tech startups and tech IPOs are continuing to attract some of the world’s wealthiest investors today.
Having two world-class universities nearby – Stanford and Cal – has also been a strong magnet. Real estate in the Bay Area has a long track record of being a good investment for patient buyers.
Nationwide, recent international buyers came from 70 different countries, up from 53 countries the previous year. Canadians accounted for the largest percentage of international purchases with 23 percent, while Chinese buyers were second with nine percent. Tied for third were Mexico, the U.K., and India. Argentina and Brazil combined reported an increase in foreign sales with five percent.
Not surprisingly, California was among the top states in attracting foreign buyers. But Florida actually was number one with 31 percent of total foreign transactions. California was second with 12 percent, Texas was third with 9 percent, and Arizona fourth with 6 percent.
Generally, the East Coast attracts European buyers. The West Coast remains popular for Asian purchasers. Mexican buyers are traditionally attracted to the Southwestern markets. And Florida is most popular among South Americans, Europeans and Canadians.
This post originally appeared on PaloAltoCal.com