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Senators propose “Buy a home, get a U.S. Visa”

Two Senators have come up with a plan to boost the moribund U.S. housing market: Give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy a home in the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal says Sens. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah) are preparing to introduce the idea as part of a larger package of immigration measures. The idea is to help make up for the lack of American buyers in the housing market, according to the report.

The Journal notes that foreigners now account for a growing share of the homes purchased in South Florida, Southern California, Arizona and other hard-hit housing markets.

“Chinese and Canadian buyers, among others, are taking advantage not only of big declines in U.S. home prices and reduced competition from Americans but also of favorable foreign exchange rates,” the paper said.

The plan aims to fuel this demand by offering visas to any foreigners making “a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential real-estate – a single-family house, condo or townhouse,” the Journal reported.

“Applicants can spend the entire amount on one house or spend as little as $250,000 on a residence and invest the rest in other residential real estate, which can be rented out,” the paper added.

May 2024