By Nathalie Voit
The Nov. 8 lift on overseas travelers means foreign buyers will once again be able to view and buy U.S. real estate after 20 months of not being able to enter the country.
The current travel ban, which affects 33 countries, is set to expire on Monday for vaccinated visitors. According to the U.S. Department of State, the upcoming lift will rescind restrictions on tourists from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the 26-member European Schengen Area.
The COVID-19 travel restrictions were first enacted on Feb. 2 by the Trump administration. The restrictions on international travelers were reinstated by President Joe Biden, who broadened the restrictions to include citizens from South Africa and other nations.
After over one-and-a-half years of waiting, foreign buyers can once again enter the nation’s lucrative real-estate markets and head to the country’s most attractive cities, namely New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. The upcoming lift on Monday has real-estate brokers “bracing” for a flood of wealthy buyers, according to CNBC.
“This represents another upside in demand that just didn’t exist over the last two years,” said CEO of Miller Samuel Jonathan Miller. “It will be especially beneficial to the high-end and luxury market.”
Brokers in coastal cities are preparing ahead for the pent-up surge in demand. Many have a long list of showings and property reveals planned for buyers in the upcoming weeks, the CNBC reported.
Sales data from the National Association of Realtors reveals foreign buyers spent $267 billion on U.S. real-estate in 2018 and $183 billion in 2019. In 2021, spending sharply decreased to $107 billion as buyers from Canada, China, the U.K., Brazil, India, and Mexico weren’t able to tour or visit properties.
The news comes amid soaring asset prices and a red-hot stock market that benefitted the pockets of the global rich. According to an Institute for Policy Studies report released in April 2020, the world’s 2,364 billionaires saw their wealth increase by 54% during the first year of the pandemic. Many of the overseas wealthy are now looking for so-called “trophy assets,” or extremely high-end listings.
“New York home purchases are super attractive to these buyers because they can use it or rent it out,” said Scott Durkin, CEO of Douglas Elliman, an American real estate company. “But they can also hang on to it. It becomes something they’re proud of.”
“We’re expecting a flood of buyers across all our markets in the U.S.,” he told CNBC.