Interest from foreign property buyers continues to grow for properties around the world. ListGlobally has recorded increases in 2018 over 2017’s numbers from consumer interest globally. ListGlobally track consumer interest through our consumer’s online searches for properties and inquiries that are submitted by consumers through the ListGlobally portal network.The most significant increases in foreign consumer interest in 2018 was for properties in the following countries, Portugal, Spain and France.

What prompted this increase in foreign consumer interest?

2018 saw a number of macroeconomic factors which motivated consumer interest and the purchase of real estate abroad. We would like to point to a few significant influencers:

  • The Brexit.
  • The Trump government and its potential new restrictions for foreign buyers seeking to access U.S. real estate.
  • A continued forecast in many major markets for the potential of rising property prices.
  • Many countries, particularly those in Europe, like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece (that were more greatly affected by the 2008 Global Recession). These countries and many others continue to receive strong interest from foreign property buyers because of the ease and accessibility of low cost properties.
  • Generation Y and Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, who are now in an age group that are purchasing their first properties or investment properties. These consumers have grown up in an increasingly globalized world, one where investing in overseas markets seems like the logical thing to do when you are in search of great properties at the best price.  This attitude and fluidity of global capital has certainly increased in the last couple decades.

What were the most interesting countries for foreign property buyers in 2018?


Foreign buyers interest in North America

ListGlobally is the world’s largest network of global property portals. As such, we have a great deal of data that allows us to observe international market trends. In 2018, we recorded a near 28% increase in the number of international consumer leads expressing their interest in one or more foreign properties. It should be noted that in 2017 there was an increase of 15% over 2016’s numbers.

At ListGlobally, we track consumer interest in property listings that are displayed through our global network of property portals. We do not measure sold property data. Instead, we review performance of listings, the number of consumer eyes viewing property details and the number of consumer inquiries or leads that are submitted by viewing consumers. This data allows ListGlobally to predict future consumer trends based on rising interest in search results online which can be very useful for real estate professionals that are trying to target the right clients with the right property offering.

Consumer traffic data recorded from listing performance across the ListGlobally network has shown that in 2018, Foreign consumers that displayed the greatest level of interest in U.S. properties were Chinese consumers at seven percent (7%). French consumers accounted for five percent (5%) of total consumer interest, and UK citizens made up one percent (1%) of total consumer interest.

When we review performance of property listings in Canada, the greatest interest for properties came from U.S. citizens, accounting for eight percent (8%) of total global consumer interest, with Chinese and French both at four percent a piece (4%).

A strong increase in Chinese buyers in North America

The United States and Canada are respectively 8th and 10th in our ranking of the most popular countries for foreign buyers. While the global number of foreign consumer inquiries remained stable in 2018. The U.S. and Canada both experienced  increases in their share of Chinese buyer interest. 2018 saw an increase of 44% by Chinese consumers for U.S. properties, and a 247% increase from Chinese consumers for properties in Canada.

Chinese consumer interest in real estate both in the U.S. and Canada is not a new trend, particularly for the newly wealthy in China. However, outside of a typical rate of increase that we might expect year over year, we may also want to consider that the significant increase in the level of interest has been magnified by macroeconomic factors such as:

  • The election of Trump with potential new restrictions from foreign buyers.
  • Tightening of Chinese laws against the country’s capital outflows.
  • Slowdown in economic growth in China due to trade disputes.

What was the budget of a foreign property buyer in 2018?

Globally, the average price of real estate for which foreign buyers inquired to, or submitted their interest for increased by 19%. By analyzing consumer trends and property inquiries from the three of Europe’s leading markets for foreign consumer interest, Portugal, Spain and France, we can conclude that there has been a significant increase in the price foreign buyers are willing to pay for a property aboard.

In 2018, we recorded a 19% increase in the price of properties inquired to in Portugal (with an average price going from $305,520 USD to over $363,869 USD). Similarly, ListGlobally noted a 37% increase in France (from $767,377 USD to $1,057,309 USD).

With regards to the U.S. and Canada, we see the average price of a property in the U.S. which receives an inquiry / consumer interest is price at $448,000 USD. In Canada, this average price is lower at $395,000 USD.

Foreign buyers budget in North America

French, English and Chinese consumers displayed the strongest interest to inquiry and / or purchase properties in the U.S. in Canada in 2018.

It should be noted that U.S. citizens also displayed a significant interest in Canadian properties in 2018.

North America: What are the most interesting regions for foreign buyers?

In 2018, foreign buyer interest in the United States saw New York receive the most interest at twenty nine percent (29%).  California and Florida were close behind with twenty two percent (22%), and twenty one (21%) respectively.

If we look at consumer interest as it relates to property inquiries by consumers for Canadian properties at the provincial level, interest is broken down the following way:

Ontario saw an increase of foreign consumer interest of 23% year over year, while Quebec displayed a sharp decrease in consumer interest dropping from 61% of all consumer interest for Canada in 2017, down to 31.68% in 2018. Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all showed marginal increases in interest from foreign property buyers in 2018 over 2017’s figures.

When it comes to the average price of properties foreigner buyers inquired about in these markets, we see the following results:

While in Canada the prices were the following.

For properties n the USA, those that received the most number of inquiries were priced between $300,000 USD to 600,000 USD. In Canada, the property listings that received the greatest number of inquiries were price between $280,000 USD to $540,000 USD.

During 2019, North America will continue to seduce foreign buyers in 2019

At ListGlobally, we predict that the number of foreign buyers interested in the USA and Canada will continue to grow. According to our President of North America and Oceania, Byron Burley, prices for existing properties in some key U.S. and Canadian markets like Vancouver, Toronto, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and possibly New York, may see a decrease in property prices in 2019. This will be due to a number of factors, not the least of which would be trade relations between Canada and the United States and the United States and China. We anticipate that this decrease in pricing will help spark additional foreign buyer interest in these and other markets.

ListGlobally data suggests that the Los Angeles luxury market will remain quite hot with foreign property buyers. With adjustments to pricing, buyers may scoop up luxury properties in key locations that they can hold and sell when the market starts to soar again. For more information on 2019 trends, we invite you to read our dedicated article here.

New ListGlobally tools and services in 2019

ListGlobally grew in 2018 with the launch of additional services to aid foreign buyers in their search for the right global property. One such service is the ListGlobally Consumer Concierge.

Market specific  content and consumer purchase guides

In the spring of 2018, ListGlobally published a number of free buying guides  dedicated to help and educate those consumers that were interested in purchasing a property outside of their country. These buying guides have now been translated into 8 languages. The guides can be found here: France, Spain and Portugal.

Examples of property buying guides available through ListGlobally & the Properstar portals.

Following the production and translation of these property buying guides, ListGlobally has made these educational pieces available for consumers online through many of the portals we promote your listings through in an effort to help answer some initial “everyday” questions consumers may have about purchasing a property in a desired market.

ListGlobally Consumer Concierge Service

ServiceThe real estate industry is a relationship based business, where clients requirepersonalized attention and service In order to ensure our inquiring consumers are treated with the greatest care, and to ensure they receive the answers to their questions, ListGlobally launched a consumer concierge service in  the summer of 2018.

This personalized telephone service helps to assist non-resident buyers looking for properties abroad, allowing them the opportunity to ask questions which allows our team at ListGlobally to help recommend the right property to meet their individual needs. Following a preliminary conversation with the consumer, ListGlobally is able to better match the consumer with a top agent in the consumer’s desired market. By listening to our client’s needs, we have developed a service that is valued by both our inquiring consumers and our agent clients. Ensuring that we are providing all participants with the best service which ultimately leads to the greatest likelihood that the right property will be found for the consumer.

The ListGlobally Concierge is a service that we will continue to improve. Our initial results have seen a response rate of 70% from inquiring consumers, asking to receive more information and to be connected with a local agent that can start suggesting properties based on their needs. We consider that a tremendous success.

Want to know more? Reach out.

We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or would like additional information to help you in the sale of your properties to foreign buyers, we would love to help. Contact ListGlobally at any time using the link below.



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