Favorable exchange rates, affordable home prices and relatively inexpensive financing continue to drive international home buyers to the United States, and lenders are taking notice.
At HSBC, foreign-national mortgages accounted for about 35% of its U.S. home lending business so far in 2014, according to Peter Alongi, senior mortgage manager at HSBC’s New York City office. Alongi said the bank has consistently experience year-over-year increases.
International home buying in the U.S. increased 35% between March 2013 and April 2014, with Chinese buyers outpacing the rest. The Chinese spent $22 billion of the total $92.3 billion international home buying volume during that time period, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Overall, foreign clients made up about 7% of transactions in the $1.2 trillion U.S. residential real estate market.
Other lenders are showing interest, too. Mega Capital Funding, a Calabasas, Calif.-based lender, started lending to non-residents in June after seeing rising demand from Chinese buyers, according to Bloomberg. Orlando, Fla.-based FBC Mortgage increased its mortgages to international buyers by 65% in 2014 compared to last year.