But the most popular property searches for people from India were in and around Silicon Valley, where technology firms heavily recruit from India, according to Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, an online marketplace for residential real estate. Also popular were the Boston and Philadelphia areas near universities that have numerous students from India, suburban areas of New Jersey and in Queens, where there are established Indian-American communities. In an echo of the late 1980s, foreign investment in US, real estate has taken off with foreign buyers now making up 7 percent of total existing-home sales of $1.2 trillion, the Times said citing a survey from the National Association of Realtors. Of those, Indians represent 6 percent of the purchases, spending $5.8 billion, up from $3.9 billion over the same period a year ago and on par with buyers from Britain.
Buyers from five countries account for over half of international home sales, with those from India ranked third, paying a median of $343,000. Canada still accounts for the largest share of buyers, but China is the fastest-growing source of clients, according to the realtors' group. "Buyers from India include parents living in India who buy apartments for students attending college, making sure the units have concierge service and an extra bedroom so they can visit for extended periods," said several real estate agents cited by the Times. After the students leave college, the parents often keep the apartment and rent it out.
Irene Barnaby, a broker with Weichert Realtors in Jersey City, was quoted as saying her Indian clients generally spent about $600,000 to $800,000 on condos. Indian real estate agents are also getting in on the action with many recruiting brokers in the US to help clients overcome tax issues and red tape that otherwise would apply to foreign investors, the Times said.