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Visa Incentive for Foreign Buyers Proposed

By Mike Wheatley | October 24, 2011

A new bill recently mooted in the Senate would allow foreign nationals who spend a minimum of $500,000 on a home in the country to apply for a special visa that would grant them the right to reside in the U.S.

Foreign buyers

Visa incentive for foreign investors on the table © BigChe -

While the bill is designed to encourage foreign nationals to invest in U.S. residential properties, the visa offer would come with a few stipulations attached, reports the LA Times.

One of the biggest of these is that foreign investors would have to spend a minimum of $250,000 on their primary home, and a grand total of $500,000 on residential property altogether, meaning they would have to buy a second home which they could choose to rent out. The properties would also have to be bought with cash only.

Further, while foreigners would be allowed to move their spouse and children to the U.S. to live with them, they would not be allowed to work unless granted a proper work visa. Last but not least, anyone wanting to take up the U.S government on their offer would have to live for at least 180 days of the year in the U.S., meaning they would be liable to pay taxes on any earnings they make, including outside of the U.S.

The legislation states that the visa would last for three years at a time, and could be easily renewed provided the person in question’s circumstances had not changed considerably. However, the visa would be become a route through which foreign nationals could obtain U.S. citizenship.

Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was eager to point out the economic benefits of the new proposal, which he said would help to reduce U.S. residential property inventories:

“Many people want to come and live in the United States. 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.”

Some real estate agents predict that offering a visa incentive to foreign investors could boost sales by as much as three times their current level.

Sandra Miller, an agent with Engel & Volkers in Santa Monica, said to the LA Times that states such as California, Colorado, Hawaii, Florida, New York and Texas would likely see a massive increase in demand should the bill be passed into law.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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