A new report showing more and more people from around the world are buying homes here in the Austin area, contributing $613 million to the region's economy from April 2021-March 2022.
The Austin Board of REALTORS's 2022 Central Texas International Homebuyers Report shows Indian homebuyers comprised the largest share of international homebuyers at 21%, with Mexico (10%), China (6%) and Canada (4%) rounding out the top 4.
Ashley Jackson, president-elect of the Austin Board of REALTORS, spoke with FOX 7 Austin's John Krinjak about the report and its findings.
JOHN KRINJAK: So your organization recently put out the 2022 Central Texas International Homebuyers report shows about 3% of all sales in the Austin area were from buyers internationally. How big of a deal is that?
ASHLEY JACKSON: You know, I think it's a pretty big deal. And it shows really the work that Austin has put into becoming an international destination over the past 20 years. We have a lot of events here that attract international buyers, and of course, we offer a great quality of life in Austin. From Austin FC, Formula One, Austin City Limits Festival. We have a lot here that makes Austin great for Austinites and international buyers.
JOHN KRINJAK: And so what were some of the top countries? I understand India had a pretty big proportion of this international market, right?
ASHLEY JACKSON: Yeah, that's correct. So India buyers from India represent about 21% of the international buyers that we're seeing in the area, and then about 10% are coming from Mexico. China comes in around 6%. So those are the top three that we're seeing coming to the Austin area.
JOHN KRINJAK: And are most of these people actually moving here? Do you see situations where they're just kind of buying up real estate? What does that look like?
ASHLEY JACKSON: You know, that's one aspect of the report that surprised me a little when I read it. About 59% of these international buyers are coming here to live. They're investing in our area. They're coming here to get a part of the American dream, just like we all are. And I think that's a pretty large amount.
JOHN KRINJAK: And you hit on this before. But I mean, what kind of forces what kind of changes have happened here in Austin that you really think is driving this?
ASHLEY JACKSON: Well, we have a very strong economy. And so that strong economy needs really attracts employers to our area. We've had a change in the way that some people work. A lot of people are able to work remotely now. And so that will help draw people into our area. And, you know, the activities that we have in Austin are strong school district, just great quality of life here that I know I've enjoyed for the past 40 years. All of those things work together to draw in international buyers and as you see, more tech companies coming to our area. One thing I noticed in the report that I think you may find interesting is that a lot of the buyers coming from India are here on a visa and the buyers coming from Mexico are here with green cards. And so it's really attracting everyone.
JOHN KRINJAK: It's certainly an exciting phenomenon. But I mean, is there kind of a double-edged sword here? Obviously, this is good for the economy. Does it also have the effect of just kind of driving up the prices even more for people who live here?
ASHLEY JACKSON: I wouldn't attribute that to international buyers whatsoever. I would put that more on our local zoning laws and ask the city what they're doing to meet the needs of housing for all buyers in the area, including current Austinites, future Austinites. You know, what are we doing here at the local level to add to our housing inventory? And there's certainly more buyers, no matter where are they coming from. We'll add to that demand.
JOHN KRINJAK: And what do you see happening in the future? Do you see just kind of even more international interest as we go forward?
ASHLEY JACKSON: I would expect so. I mean, we remain a vibrant city. We will continue to attract buyers of all kinds, especially internationally, as it's easier to make those moves now, especially that the pandemic has calmed down. I think we'll continue to see more of this as people are attracted to Austin for the variety of reasons that we all enjoy as we live here.
JOHN KRINJAK: Certainly interesting to see. Ashley Jackson from the Austin Board of Realtors. Ashley, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
ASHLEY JACKSON: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.