With the dollar expected to rise against foreign currencies later this year (that trend has already started), foreign investors are hurrying to purchase real estate in the US while their dollar goes further. Most of these investors are targeting the Las Vegas real estate market in particular, where the sharp decline in prices (due to the high amount of Las Vegas foreclosures) and the world class amenities have made it an attractive get-away destination. In particular, Canadian buyers are looking to Las Vegas homes as a vacation retreat from their harsh winter climate.
Most banks will not loan on real estate outside of their own country. With all the recent shifts in the credit markets, the qualifying criteria has changed for mortgage loans in the United States across the board, including those to foreign purchasers. Prior to this year, a foreign national could obtain financing from US banks as long as they had 35% to put down with no or limited documentation. Now US mortgage lenders are requiring full documentation of income and assets on all mortgage loans without exception, though the down payment requirements have dropped.
A citizen of a country other than the US can obtain a loan for property in the US based on what classification they fall under. A permanent resident alien is a foreign national who has been granted the right to work in the US permanently and who has been given a US social security number. A permanent resident alien can purchase property under the same guidelines as a US citizen. They can get a loan with as little as 5% down payment for a primary residence, either on a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage at the current interest rates available to US citizens.
All other foreign nationals, including those with temporary work visas, are required to put down a minimum of 25% for properties under $650,000 or 35% for properties over $650,000, whether the property is a primary residence or a rental property. Lenders will also require the equivalent of a US TRW rating as well as full documentation of their employment income and assets. In addition, the down payment money must be “seasoned” in a US bank for at least 60 days prior to the close of escrow.
These loans to foreign nationals are only currently available as adjustable rate mortgages or ARMS. The fixed rate terms can be for 3, 5, 7 or 10 years and interest rates are currently running between 7.5% and 8.5% with approximately 5 loan discount points prepaid for the amount of the loan (points can vary on a day to day basis just like interest rates). Each point is the equivalent of 1% of the loan amount, so on a $100,000 loan 5 points would be $5,000.
Another alternative is for the foreign national to obtain an equity credit line on their property in their home country and come to the US with cash in hand. Cash offers are very strong, and enable the buyer’s agent to negotiate the best possible price on behalf of their client.
For more information on getting qualified for a Las Vegas mortgage and to receive the latest listings on great deals in Las Vegas new homes, high rise condos or MLS listings, please contact our office at 702-985-7654 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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