Melissa Dewberry enjoys doing crossword puzzles, walking her cat and pondering ways to patch up the hole in the ozone layer.
Visas for Sale
Two U.S. Senators have introduced a bill that would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on residential property to obtain visas that allow them to live in the United States.
In doing so, they are hoping to bail out the sinking real estate market with wealthy Chinese, Canadians, and other foreign buyers.
The plan could be a boon for California which has become a popular real estate market for foreigners, particularly those from China.
“Overall, Los Angeles is the perfect place for investors,” said Yan Yan Zhang, an agent with Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, who travels to China several times a year to meet potential clients.
Nationwide, “residential sales to foreigners and recent immigrant totaled $82 billion in the 12-month period ended March 31, up from $66 billion the previous year, according to the National Assn. of Realtors. California accounted for 12% of those sales, second only to Florida.”
Sandra Miller, a broker at Engel & Volkers in Santa Monica, a real estate firm that caters to foreign clients, said that currently 10 percent of the luxury market is composed of foreign buyers. She estimates that number will triple if they are allowed visas.
“California, Florida, New York, Colorado, Hawaii and Texas – those states will see a huge increase in demand,” she said. “The whole Westside would certainly benefit.”
It is similar to an existing program that places foreigners on an accelerated path to a green card if they invest $500,000 in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.
“Many people want to come and live in the United States,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who introduced the legislation Thursday along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). “They will be here spending money and paying taxes, and the most important thing is they’ll sop up the extra supply of homes we have right now compared to demand, and that’s what’s dragging our economy down.”
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.