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Friday, October 21, 2011

Foreigners’ sweetener: Buy house, get a visa

Foreigners’ sweetener: Buy house, get a visa

WASHINGTON – Oct. 21, 2011 – Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have proposed a new type of resident visa for foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to purchase real estate in the United States. The proposal calls for at least $250,000 to be spent on a residence, while the other $250,000 could be invested in other real estate. However, the entire amount must be a cash investment.

The provision, part of a larger package of immigration measures, would complement existing visa programs that permit foreigners to enter the country if they invest in new businesses that create jobs.

Supporters believe the initiative would help absorb a glut of housing supply – especially in markets like Arizona and South Florida, where foreign buyers have represented a rising share of home buying activity. According to National Association of Realtors® (NAR) research, 5.5 percent of Miami homes sell to international buyers.

International buyers snapped up $82 billion in U.S. residential property in the year ended in March, surging from $66 billion during the prior 12 months, reports NAR.

Source: Wall Street Journal (10/20/11) P. A7; Timiraos, Nick

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