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Bill Proposes to Give Visas to Foreign Homebuyers

A pair of US Senators have drafted a bill designed to take an interesting approach to boost the nation's long-struggling housing market. The measure attempted to make up for a lack of Americans buying homes by offering residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 buying a home in the US. The bill, co-written by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, is part of a larger collection of immigration reforms.

Even without the measure in place, international buyers have become responsible for a growing number of home sales in recent years, particularly in states like Florida, California and Arizona, where the housing troubles have been more pronounced. Investors from Canada, China, and various European countries have begun snatching up properties to take advantage of depressed property values and favorable foreign exchange rates.

The proposed measure aims to take advantage of this demand by offering visas to these buyers as long as they make a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential real estate. Applicants will have the option of spending the entire $500,000 on one home, or spend as little as $250,000 on one home and invest another $250,000 on other properties, which can then be rented out.

October 25, 2011

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