You've probably heard and seen reports about the Texas real estate market booming, but you probably didn't know that boom is with foreign buyers. A new report from Texas Realtors says foreign homebuyers purchased more than $4 billion worth of properties in the Lone Star State within the past year. That amounts to about 10,000 homes, or nearly 3 percent of all homes sold during that period. The report also found half of these foreign buyers paid in cash, with the average purchase price of $446,000, well above the Texas median home price.
As for where these foreign buyers are from, the largest percentage (about 4 in 10) come from Mexico, not surprising because of its neighboring proximity. "Based on the billions in purchases, you can extrapolate from that just the amount of land being bought up (by foreigners) in Texas, with one of those countries at the top of the list being China," says Brandon Waltens, managing editor at Texas Scorecard.
Indeed, China was second among foreign homebuyers in Texas, with about 8 percent. Waltens says that should raise some red flags. "We know from recent news reports that China and firms inside of Communist China have bought up thousands of acres of Texas land, some of it near military bases, in other cases it's farm land," he tells KTRH. "And it's really becoming a national security concern."
"Americans can't buy land in China," Waltens continues. "They can enter into rental agreements for 99 years, but ultimately they don't allow Americans to go there and buy land."
The Texas Senate passed a bill this year to restrict land purchases by hostile foreign entities like China, Russia and North Korea, but the bill died in the Texas House. That has prompted a push for Governor Greg Abbott to revive the effort in a special session. "There are a growing amount of people saying we want to see this issue addressed," says Waltens. "We want to prevent hostile foreign governments from buying up land here in the Lone Star State."