International homebuyers preferred purchasing properties in the United States over other countries, with Los Angeles County as the top California location, according to a survey by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).
The “2013 International Clients Survey” found that of the homes purchased by international buyers last year in California, 35 percent were in Los Angeles County, 22 percent were in Orange County, 20 percent were in San Diego County, 14 percent were in Riverside County, 7 percent were in Contra Costa County and 7 percent in Santa Clara County.
The vast majority (85 percent) of international buyers said they only considered purchasing a home in the U.S., citing that the stable government and financial system would guarantee their home investment. Fifteen percent considered investing in other countries, with Canada, Germany, Mexico, China, Singapore, Sweden, and France cited as other countries most considered.
International buyers also chose to purchase in the U.S. for its desirable location and climate (20 percent), to be closer to family and friends (20 percent), investment opportunities (9 percent), changes in work and employment (9 percent), educational opportunities (6 percent), and affordable prices (4 percent).
International buyers purchased a property in the U.S. primarily for investment purposes or tax advantages (18 percent) or to rent out (14 percent), contrary to traditional home buyers, who purchased primarily because they were tired of renting (23 percent).
The survey also found that 69 percent of international buyers paid all cash for their properties, compared to 27 percent of traditional buyers who paid all cash.
Thirty-two percent of international buyers purchased the home as a primary residence, compared to 75 percent for traditional buyers, and 33 percent purchased the home as an investment or a rental property, compared to 19 percent of traditional buyers.
While the primary language of many international buyers was Chinese (36 percent), 70 percent communicated in English, illustrating a highly educated international clientele.
International buyers typically spent five weeks looking for properties, compared to 10 weeks for traditional buyers.
Forty-four percent of international home buyers purchased homes with designer kitchens, 26 percent purchased homes with a wine cellar, and 9 percent purchased homes with a sauna. Other home amenities that international buyers wanted include private beach, putting green, heated floors, and outdoor kitchens.