Real Estate Data for the Rest of Us

articles about “International House Hunters

International House Hunters Get More Diverse

More searches for U.S. homes are coming from lower- and middle-income countries. The top neighborhoods for foreign searches are all in Manhattan, Los Angeles, South Florida, and Central Florida.

Foreigners are big players in many U.S. housing markets. Looking across all the search traffic on Trulia from the past year (April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013), searches from outside the U.S. accounted for 4.3% of all searches – and more than 25% of searches in a handful of truly global neighborhoods.

Foreign search share is down a bit from the previous year (April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012), when foreigners accounted for 4.4% of searches. However, foreign searches are now more diverse: the share of searches coming from lower- and middle-income countries has grown. Also, although foreigners make up a declining share of home searches in Phoenix, Miami, and other Sunbelt metros, they’re gaining share in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

As Canadians Retreat, More Searches Come from Asia and Africa
The top countries where U.S. home searches originate are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany, but those countries represent a declining share of all foreign searches. In fact, those three countries now account for 34% of all foreign searches on Trulia in the past year, compared with 38% in the previous year. So which countries are gaining at their expense? The search share from India, Nigeria, Russia, and the Philippines all leapt by 20% or more in the past year, and by 17% from China.

# Country Share of all Foreign Searches on Trulia Y-o-Y Change in Search Share
1 Canada



2 United Kingdom



3 Germany



4 India



5 Australia



6 Nigeria



7 Mexico



8 France



9 Brazil



10 Japan



11 China



12 Italy



13 Russia



14 Philippines



15 Netherlands



Note: Share of all foreign searches is the percent of all foreign searches (excluding domestic searches) on Trulia from each country.

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America’s Most Irish Towns Visualization Preview

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America’s Most Irish Towns

The suburbs around Boston and other Northeastern metros are the capitals of Irish America. Those are also the areas where home-searchers from Ireland are looking today

On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish. But what about the rest of the year? Twenty-two million Americans — 7.2% of the population – say their “primary ancestry” is Irish, according to the Census’s American Community Survey. Another 13.5 million Americans claim at least some Irish ancestry, bringing the total to 35.5 million Americans — 11.6% of the population — with at least partial Irish ancestry. If that sounds low, remember that Ireland’s population today is just 6.4 million – 4.6 million in the Republic of Ireland and 1.8 million in Northern Ireland. So there are more than 5 times as many Americans with at least partial Irish ancestry as there are people who live in Ireland.

Irish-Americans are strongly concentrated in the Northeast. The percentage of people with primary Irish ancestry tops out at 20% in the Boston metro area, followed by Middlesex County, MA (west of Boston) and Peabody, MA (north of Boston). The top six metros are all in Massachusetts or upstate New York:

America’s Most Irish Metros

# U.S. Metro % Irish ancestry
1 Boston, MA


2 Middlesex County, MA


3 Peabody, MA


4 Albany, NY


5 Syracuse, NY


6 Worcester, MA


7 Camden, NJ


8 Philadelphia, PA


9 Long Island, NY


10 Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ


Among 100 largest metros. Primary Irish ancestry only.

Irish-Americans are at least 5% of the population in most counties across the U.S., and 10% or more in most of New England, New York state, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and other smaller counties across the country. At the other extreme, Miami is just 1% Irish:

U.S. Map of Where Irish-Americans Live

America’s Top Irish Neighborhoods
Even though Irish-Americans make up just 5% of the New York metro population overall– less than the national average and only one-quarter the share in Boston – the neighborhood with the highest percentage of Irish-Americans is Breezy Point /Rockaway Point in Queens (ZIP code 11697). Most recently, this neighborhood is known for having had significant Hurricane Sandy damage:

America’s Top Irish Neighborhoods


ZIP code



% Irish ancestry



Breezy Point /
Rockaway Point

New York, neighborhood




Point Lookout

Long Island South Shore suburb




Pearl River

New York northern suburb




Mount Greenwood

Chicago Southwest Side neighborhood





Boston southern suburb




Crum Lynne

Philadelphia western suburb




South Weymouth

Boston South Shore suburb





Boston South Shore suburb





Boston South Shore suburb




North Weymouth

Boston South Shore suburb


Primary Irish ancestry only.

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How Do You Say “McMansion” in Dutch?

When searching for U.S. homes for sale, the Netherlands likes them big. But Argentina and Israel think small is beautiful.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
September 17, 2012

Foreign house hunters help drive demand for U.S. homes. Even though rising U.S. prices are discouraging foreigners who were looking for bargains, people from all over the world still have their eye on American real estate. Following up from our earlier analysis of where foreign house hunters are searching, we wanted to see the size of homes that they’re looking at.

The rest of the world might make fun of Americans for our big portions, big homes and big butts, but it turns out that most foreigners look at bigger homes than what most Americans look at – among all searches of U.S. homes on Trulia. The median home size that Americans view is 1,854 square feet. Most Europeans, however, look at larger homes than that. Of all countries, house hunters from the Netherlands view the largest homes – median size of 2,400 square feet – followed by Ireland, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway.

The Dutch, Swedes and Norwegians are also among the world’s tallest people. Do they look at bigger houses because they need more room? Or because countries with taller populations tend to be richer, and people in richer countries can afford bigger homes?

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Rising U.S. Prices Turn Off Foreign House Hunters Visualization Preview

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Rising U.S. Prices Turn Off Foreign House Hunters

Share of U.S. Home Searches from Abroad Drops 10% since 2011

Foreign investors have been boosting the housing recovery. Attracted by price declines – and sometimes looking for safer places to invest their money than in their home country – foreigners have been searching for and buying American real estate. But this trend is going into reverse. As a share of all the searches on Trulia, foreign searches fell by nearly 10% in the last year: in the second quarter of 2012, 4.1% of home searches came from abroad, compared with 4.5% in the second quarter of 2011. Traffic overall on Trulia is growing rapidly, including foreign searches, but foreign searches are becoming a smaller slice of a growing pie. Why are foreigners pulling back from the U.S. housing market? Two reasons. U.S. price increases are turning them off, and interest has fallen off from the Eurozone crisis countries. But before we explain the drop-off, first let’s take a look at where foreigners are searching.

Where Are International House Hunters Searching?
Which markets are foreigners looking at? Los Angeles, New York and Miami get the highest number of foreign searches. Check out our interactive data visualization to see where are the top five metros searched from the 15 foreign countries with the most searches on Trulia.

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Buying the American Dream with Euros Visualization Preview

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Buying the American Dream with Euros

International house hunters have snapped up American homes left and right since the crash – but will Europe’s Financial Crisis put an end to this buying frenzy?

the Trulia Trends team
January 11, 2012

A few weeks ago, we worked with Bloomberg BusinessWeek to put together a list of the priciest homes sold in 2011. Lo and behold, the top three were bought by European billionaires (and their heiress daughters). Just see for your self:

1. Los Altos Hills Mansion
Sales Price:
Buyer: Yuri Milner, Russian tech billionaire

Yuri Milner Los Altos Hills Mansion

(Source: Google Maps image)

2. Central Park Penthouse
Sales Price:
Buyer: Ekaterina Rybolovleva, 22 year old daughter of Russian Billionaire Dmitriy Rybolovlev

Central Park West Penthouse

(Source: Brown Harris Stevens)

3. Spelling Manor
Sales Price:
Buyer: Petra Ecclestone, 22 year old daughter of British billionaire Bernie Ecclestone

Spelling Manor

(Source: Google Maps image)

(HINT: To see more eye candy homes of the rich and famous, check out our sister blog, Trulia Luxe Living)

If you ask us, some people have way too much money to burn ’cause just thinking about the property tax for these homes is giving us heart burn! But honestly, it’s not that surprising. Last year, foreign homebuyers reportedly bought about $41 billion worth of homes on U.S. soil.[1] In fact, some experts have suggested that these buyers will help stabilize America’s housing market (though it will do little to bring about a full recovery).

America as Europe’s Piggy Bank
Now before we pin all our hopes on these international house hunters, we should probably take a closer look at what’s brewing across the pond. As you may have seen in the news, Europe is kind of a hot mess right now. How bad is bad? Well, let’s just say that Reuter’s finance reporter, Felix Salmon, has resorted to using Lego toys to explain what’s happening and why Europe’s financial mess is much worse ours – check out the video pasted below.

As for what really matters, we turned to our Chief Economist Jed Kolko (@jedkolko) for his thoughts on how Europe’s money woes will likely affect the U.S. housing market in 2012. Here’s what he had to say:

“As Europe’s financial crisis turns into a deeper recession, Europeans will spend less on nearly everything, including real estate. But for those Europeans who would still be in a position to invest, U.S. assets — including U.S. real estate — could turn out to be safer investments than European stocks, bonds or property.”

In other words, the financial crisis in Europe might actually encourage people to invest in U.S. real estate; however, it won’t be everyday Joe Shmoes trying buy a piece of the American Dream of homeownership. Instead, it’s going to be men and women of means looking for a safer place to store their money.

More Greeks Looking to Move (Their Money)
When we last looked at what the international house hunting community was up to, we found that most of the interest was coming from our neighbors up north (aka, the Canadians) and that Florida was the crowd favorite.

This time around, we decided to shine a spotlight on Europe in order to answer the billion dollar question – will Euros keep on flowing into the U.S. housing market or has that cash flow been capped?

To find out, we compared all the house hunting activity on that was coming from members of the European Union at the beginning of 2011 with what was happening at the end of the year. (And in case you were wondering, yes – we did our due diligence and normalized the data to make sure we’re looking at a genuine spike in interest). Next, we zeroed in on the top 10 Eurozone countries (aka the ones that use the Euro) that are doing most of the house hunting on and then ranked them based on who had the biggest spike in interest.

Where Interest in U.S. Real Estate Spiked Up or Dropped

# Country 2011 Q1-to-Q4 % Change
1 Greece 17.8%
2 Italy 7.2%
3 Spain 3.1%
4 France -6.2%
5 Germany -12.0%
6 Belgium -14.3%
7 Austria -14.4%
8 Finland -15.7%
9 Ireland -19.5%
10 Netherlands -27.5%

Well, well, well, so what do you know. Greece – which has often been referred to as the “patient zero” of the region’s current debt epidemic – came in first place with a 17.8% spike in interest. While there are probably a multitude of other contributing factors, this simple observation suggests that many of these Greek homebuyers aren’t just looking for a home away from home. Instead, they’re looking to take their money and fly the coop.

Making A Rainbow Connection
Just looking at the most popular U.S. metros being eyeballed by European house hunters will tell you that international cities (Los Angeles, New York and Miami) are on almost everyone’s top 10 lists.

European House Hunters Looking at Los Angeles

European House Hunters Looking at New York City

European House Hunters Looking at Miami

Also, places with a TON of bargain bin homes are just as popular, if not more. Yes, we’re talking about you, FloridaLas Vegas and Phoenix, I mean, just look at the 20 most popular metro areas (as according to Europeans) – 10 of them are in one of these “sales rack” markets!

U.S. Metros Favored By European House Hunters

# U.S. Metros
1 Los Angeles, CA
2 New York, NY
3 Miami, FL
4 San Francisco, CA
5 Orlando, FL
6 Cape Coral, FL
7 Chicago, IL
8 Las Vegas, NV
9 Naples, FL
10 Fort Lauderdale, FL
11 Orange County, CA
12 West Palm Beach, FL
13 San Diego, CA
14 Washington, DC
15 Tampa, FL
16 Lakeland, FL
17 San Antonio, TX
18 Houston, TX
19 Atlanta, GA
20 Phoenix, AZ

As for some of the other notable notables:

—–House hunters from the tiny island country of Cyprus have a thing for Michigan. Detroit, Warren and Kalamazoo made it on their top 10 list. Who knows, maybe Cypriots are just trying to find a home for sale on America’s only floating zip code (though highly unlikely as 48222 is just a 45-foot boat….now why does a boat have a zip code, you ask? Well, why not? What do you have against boats?!)

—–Austrians seem to be following in the footsteps of their former compatriot (us Californians know him as our ex-Governator, Arnold Schwartzenegger). Several Southern California cities made it on their top list, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Riverside.

—–The Finns and Swedes – who live the furthest up north on the European continent – must be really be sick of the cold weather up there because they sure seem to love the homes in Florida. In addition to Miami, Cape Coral, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Naples and West Palm Beach also made it onto their top 10 lists.

[1] National Association of Realtors, April 2011