Posted on October 20th, 2011

Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Mike Lee of Utah are proposing a Bill that would provide foreign buyers a residence visa if they buy a US home worth $ 500,000.00 or more. Now that’s a REAL incentive for foreign buyers!  I think this is a brilliant idea, and could be exceptionally valuable to the New York real estate market.

I also think anything to encourage foreign investment is a good thing, and this seems practical and good for all. For those who will gripe that this is unfair, allowing the wealthy an unfair advantage in the immigration game, they should consider the following:

1) Foreign buyers bringing foreign currency to the country helps the economy…that helps all.

2) Selling off real estate to new buyers promotes the need for more inventory……building….that fuels US construction jobs.

3) With New York’s average pricing above $ 500k and the City being the biggest draw for foreigners, we could benefit the most compard to other US cities. It will also help Miami considerably, and lets face it Florida’s housing market needs all th help it can get!

4) Every time a $ 500k real estate sale occurs in Manhattan, taxes of about $ 9,000.00 are collected for the City and State….that benefits all.

5)  If the apartments require painting, renovation, management, etc…..that creates jobs too.

6) Foreign buyers buying property here will visit more frequently, spending on US soil at retail stores, restaurants, theatre, etc. The US economy suffers most from lack of demand right now. This can only help.

7) Wealthy buyers who can afford a property in a foreign country for over $ 500k may also want to invest more in the USA. And New York.

For foreigners, getting this VISA will  mean an easier time with financing, as well as a good reason to bring their currencies to the US.

Now comes the bigger question: Is the USA still so highly desired by foreigners? The answer in my opinion is a resounding YES. I remember driving in a cab in London at the time the US invaded Iraq and the world fell seethed with anger towards us and the cab driver said that with all the anger towards the US, every day as he did his rounds, it was only the US embassy that had long lines outside with crowds waiting their turn to get into the Great American Dream. Right now we are being swayed by the political and media forces to believe its all gone and lost forever, but I believe they are simply wrong.