Foreign investment in national and local real estate decreased in 2020



When it comes to buying a home in Hawaii, foreign investors are a minority of buyers. And the pandemic has reduced the number of buyers from other countries and from abroad.

National Association of Realtors last week, a report was released on US home purchases by international investors.

At the national level, overseas buyers purchased $ 54 billion worth of existing homes last year, down 27%. The most popular destinations for shoppers last year were Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, New Jersey and New York.

The majority of foreign investors in the US housing market came from China and Canada, followed by India, Mexico and the UK, according to the report.

Locally, Hawaii is not the most popular state for foreign investment.

“I think there is a lot of discussion in the Hawaiian market about the negative side of foreign investors or foreign buyers,” said Derek Lau, President of Hawai’i Realtors.

Before the pandemic, foreign investors accounted for 3% of total home sales, Lau said. Last year this figure dropped to 1%.

“Part of this discussion has focused on low inventory levels and possibly making it harder for locals to buy a home,” he said. “But the reality is that we just have a problem with the inventory in general. And this is not only in Hawaii, but in the whole country. And this is mainly due to unfinished construction for decades. “

Lau says that doesn’t mean there are no investors outside of Hawaii buying homes.

“The states that have accounted for the largest sales in Hawaii in terms of volume tend to be the West Coast – California, Washington. California by a wide margin, ”Lau said.

Lau estimates that roughly 20% of home sales in the state through 2020 can be attributed to California buyers. He notes that during the pandemic, local shoppers continued to buy homes in Hawaii, likely driven by low interest rates, teleworking opportunities and low cases in the state.


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