US overtakes France in international property searches

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US second most popular overseas property search destination

The United States is now the second most popular overseas property search destination in the world, according to the latest report from TheMoveChannel.

After a long running battle between France and Spain at the top of the chart, the US has unexpectedly turned the two horse race into a three way competition for top spot. The country rose by two places in the rankings, replacing the traditional runner up as the surprise second favourite for buyers in October.

America has always been one of the most popular places for foreign real estate investment, alongside France, Italy, Portugal and Turkey. But while Spain remains the country of choice for buyers, receiving 3% more enquiries than the month before, America saw an increase of 1.06% in enquiries last month.

That number may seem like a small increase, but interest in US property has grown by 3% over the past three months, indicating a consistent appetite from overseas buyers for the country’s heavily discounted property market.

France had 1.57% fewer enquiries last month, while interest in Portugal also waned, by 2.42%, perhaps a sign that the continuing Euro crisis is sapping interest in continental property markets.

America’s ascension was just one of several surprises, as Cyprus and Thailand both jumped several places to enter the Top 10 most popular destinations. Cyprus has been suffering from unemployment and economic woes in the years since the housing boom, but the country is now starting to claw back buyers, as property prices dropped for the sixth quarter in a row last month.

Also new legislation to allow buyers to officially receive property title deeds is also encouraging investment, with many foreign investors already taking advantage of the more transparent system.

The Thai property market has just been hit by major flooding, although high rise condominium sales are expected to grow as a result. Indeed, overall property transactions in Bangkok actually increased by 1,500 during the second quarter of 2011, according to CB Richard Ellis. But while Thailand and Cyprus made October a month of surprises, the biggest shock remains the US victory over France, as real estate away from the Eurozone continues to demonstrate its pull.

‘French real estate has been seen as a safe investment zone in Europe for some time, so America snatching second place is a great achievement,’ said director Dan Johnson.

The US market is currently full of foreclosures and repossessed property, with the affordable prices tempting buyers.

‘It’s interesting to see Cyprus and Thailand regain their status as former top 10 property destinations. The flooding may see Thailand’s popularity decrease next month, but Cyprus’ low prices leave a lot of room for investment as buyers look for familiar markets amid ongoing economic uncertainty,’ added Johnson.

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