The Top 10 Cities for Foreign Investors in US Real Estate (2024)

The US has many top cities for foreign investors.

What are the top 10 cities for foreign investors in US real estate in 2024?

Three things matter most when it comes to real estate in general and especially real estate for foreign investors: location, location, location. It’s time-tested, reliable advice for a question that can, at first, seem so perplexing.

But which locations are best?

In this article, Defy Mortgage looked at some of the fastest growing cities with the strongest economic outlooks in order to come up with “The Top 10 Cities for Foreign Investors in US Real Estate (2024).”

Some of the results might shock you…

Factors to Consider

  • Population growth: This particular metric is fairly simple: if a city is growing, the need for housing is, too. According to Freddie Mac, there’s actually a direct causation. For every 1% increase in population, there’s historically a 0.03% increase in home prices. With housing shortages across the US, we might see that tick up even further.
  • Employment opportunities: Next, we looked at the employment opportunities and industries that made up the local economies. All of these cities have diverse, reliable economies that aren’t overly focused on one industry or one company.
  • High demand for housing: Finally, although it’s unlikely in today’s economy, it’s possible that some cities have enough housing to satisfy the demand. All of these cities have a high demand for real estate and low vacancy rates, making them prime for investing. Foreign investors should take note.
  • Appreciation potential: While not guaranteed, properties in desirable areas with limited supply tend to appreciate over time, providing an opportunity for capital gains.

The Top 10 Cities for Foreign Investors in US Real Estate

A view of downtown Austin, Texas, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

1. Austin, Texas

    Austin, the capital of Texas, is nestled on the banks of the Colorado River. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and soaking up the sun on the shores of Lady Bird Lake or Lake Travis. 

    Economically, it’s one of the top tech spots in the USA. Some of its biggest employers include Tesla, Dell Technologies, AMD, and Amazon.

    Furthermore, Austin’s population has been rapidly increasing over the years. The current population for the entire metro area stands at roughly ~2.2 million, which is about a 2% increase from the year before. In fact, the Austin metro has grown by a whopping 33% in the decade from 2010 to 2020, and it’s almost doubled in the twenty years from 2000 to 2020:

    • 2000: Population of 1,249,763
    • 2010: Population of 1,716,289
    • 2020: Population of 2,283,371

    Given that it’s one of the fastest-growing metros in the entire United States, Austin is also one of the top 10 cities for foreigners investing in US real estate in 2024. The increasing population increases the demand for housing.

    Due to interest rate hikes, the Austin real estate market has experienced a 3% decrease in prices over the past year with a current average home price of $520k. With interest rates expected to decrease in late 2024, this may represent a bottom for current prices in the area.

    With a solid employer base, a rapidly growing population, and recently declining property values, Austin is one of the best places for foreign investors to buy real estate in 2024.

    A night-time view of downtown Atlanta, Georgia, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    2. Atlanta, Georgia

    Atlanta, Georgia is Georgia’s largest city and the principal trade and transportation center of the southeastern United States. It played a central role in both the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s.

    Today, Atlanta is thriving. It serves as the headquarters of some of the biggest companies in the world, including:

    • Coca Cola: $255.72 billion USD
    • The Home Depot: $345.45 billion USD
    • UPS: $127 billion USD
    • Delta Airlines: $30.7 billion USD
    • Chick-fil-a: $33.5 billion USD

    Atlanta’s population has also steadily grown over the past twenty years:

    • 2000: Population of ~403,000 within city limits; 3,522,000 in the metro area
    • 2010: Population of ~429,000 within city limits; 4,544,000 in the metro area
    • 2020: Population of ~500,000 within city limits; 5,803,000 in the metro area

    That means, over the past twenty years, Atlanta’s population has grown by over 20% within the city limits – and the greater metro area has grown even more. The median home price in Atlanta, accordingly, is ~$430,000, with most experts predicting either slight increases or decreases in median values over the past year, suggesting that the area has been fairly resilient during the interest rate hikes.

    These factors make Atlanta, Georgia one of the best places for foreign investors to buy property in 2024. 

    An aerial view of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, California, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    3. Los Angeles, California

    Los Angeles, California is already the country’s second most populous city, making additional population growth difficult. However, with its close proximity to Hollywood, it’s the center of the nation’s film and television industry and one of the most dominant cities in all of North America.

    Even though its population has remained relatively steady over the past twenty years, hovering around 3.6 – 3.8 million people, it’s known across the world for its warm weather, great beaches, and diverse food culture, from authentic Mexican food trucks to Michelin-starred restaurants.

    The Walt Disney Company, SpaceX, Panda Express, Mattel, and the CBRE Group are some big-name companies that are headquartered in LA, all fueling the area’s $1.06 trillion GDP, which makes up roughly 4% of the entire nation’s GDP.

    So, while Los Angeles doesn’t offer the same growth potential as places like Austin or St. George (next on our list), it’s a reliable option that isn’t going anywhere. It will likely remain a cornerstone of American culture for the foreseeable future, so investing in real estate in Los Angeles as a foreigner is likely to be a stable, low-risk investment.

    However, due to its market dominance over the last few decades, the price point for investing in LA real estate is among the highest in the developed world. The median home sale is $973,000 according to Redfin as of April 2024. While prices aren’t likely to rapidly increase, they also aren’t likely to get wiped out. Great location for foreign investors to consider purchasing in.

    If you’re looking for an area with more upside potential for growth, however…

    A view of one of the streets in St. George, Utah, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    4. St. George, Utah

    St. George, Utah is a city in southwestern Utah with a population of only ~100,000 as of April 2024. With the Snow Canyon State Park and Sand Hollow State Park nearby along with tranquil, warm weather year-round and a mountain vista in your backyard, this city’s growth is inevitable.

    • In 2000, St. George’s population was roughly ~50k.
    • In 2010, it was ~73k.
    • In 2020, it was ~96k.

    This metro area regularly ranks as one of the fastest growing in the United States. With the boom in population comes a corresponding boom in housing demand.

    Moreover, St. George’s economy is expected to grow at a rate much faster than the rest of the US. Annual GDP has been growing at about 4% per year. Their unemployment rate is currently ~2%. Industry analyses estimate a 15-20% increase in rents in the past two years.

    With a growing population, a growing economy, and a high demand for housing, St. George is one of the best places to invest in real estate as a foreign investor in 2024 – especially if you’re looking for growth.

    A view of the beach and city skyline in Miami, Florida, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    5. Miami, Florida

    Miami is a major port city located on the southeastern coast of Florida, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It has a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and warm, dry winters. Its demographics, economy, and food culture are very diverse: largely inspired by the area’s strong Cuban American and Latin American population.

    The Miami-Dade area also ranks as one of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States. In fact, according to US Census Data, four of the nation’s fastest growing metro areas are in Florida. The area has grown from 5.5 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2020, and it’s been showing steady, constant growth over the past few years.

    • In 2000, the population of the metro area was 5.1 million.
    • In 2010, the population was 5.5 million.
    • In 2020, the population was 6.2 million.

    However, in the past two years, Miami-Dade County in particular has seen a slight decline in population, which – combined with interest rate increases – might make the area a prime place for foreigners to buy real estate in 2024.

    With a median household income of roughly $70k and a median home price of $912,500, Miami is one of the most expensive metros for real estate investing – and for good reason. Expensive areas tend to correlate well with good real estate investments, particularly if you’re looking for stability.

    A lit up sign stating "Reno, the biggest little city in the world" in Reno, Nevada, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    6. Reno, Nevada

    Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Reno is a vibrant city in northwestern Nevada, famous for its nickname “The Biggest Little City in the World.” Located on the border with California, it’s just a short drive (22 miles) from the stunning Lake Tahoe.

    Reno’s population is growing at a 1.5% rate annually. Washington D.C.-based economic and demographic data firm Woods & Poole Economics, Inc projects that the Reno population will grow by more than 50% by 2060, making it one of the fastest growing cities by 2060. “The Biggest Little City in the World” may soon become just another big city.

    • In 2000, the Reno metropolitan statistical area’s population was 344,782
    • In 2010, the Reno metropolitan statistical area’s population was 426,178
    • In 2020, the Reno metropolitan statistical area’s population was 491,780

    Additionally, Reno is attracting major venture capital investments. According to the founder of Beacon Economics, Reno is among the strongest economies in the nation, having attracted over $400 million worth of venture capital investments in 2023.

    The main bottleneck, though, is housing. There’s a lack of housing inventory for all the influx of people moving to the area. Therefore, investing in real estate is likely to be a sound investment.

    A view of downtown Columbus, Ohio, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    7. Columbus, Ohio

    Columbus is the most populous city in the state of Ohio, and the 14th most populous city in the entire United States. In fact, it ranks second in the Midwest region, following Chicago, and third among U.S. state capitals after Phoenix and Austin.

    Columbus’s economy has recently benefited from a $20 billion deal with tech giant Intel to build two semiconductor plants. The deal has been estimated to bring in a whopping $300 billion into the area, at least 7,000 construction jobs in the short term, and thousands more jobs when the plants are complete.

    Columbus’s strong economy includes a highly diversified base of employers such as ScottsMiracle-Gro, Express, JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide, and Abercrombie & Fitch, with none of them representing more than 18% of the area’s workforce.

    Accordingly, the area has ranked among the fastest growing metros for years. Columbus grew faster than any other city in the nation during the last half of 2023.

    • In 2000, the Columbus MSA’s population was 1,612,694
    • In 2010, the Columbus MSA’s population was 1,901,974
    • In 2020, the Columbus MSA’s population was 2,138,926

    With a diverse economy, an influx of money from powerful tech companies, and a growing population, Columbus is one of the best areas for real estate investors in 2024.

    A sunset view of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    8. Nashville, Tennessee

    Just like Columbus is for Ohio, Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and the state’s most populous city. Located on the Cumberland River, Nashville is experiencing some of the nation’s fastest growth. It ranks 21st among the most populated U.S. cities and fourth in the southeastern U.S.

    Nashville’s population has been steadily growing for the past few decades. According to Census data:

    • In 2000, the Nashville metro area’s population was 1,317,580
    • In 2010, it was 1,650,887
    • In 2020, it’s a little over 2,000,000 – a gain of +700,000 in just 20 years.

    Nashville’s economy makes up roughly 36.1% of the state’s total GPD. Their economy is supported by Vanderbilt University, Nissan North America, HCA Holdings, Saint Thomas Health Services. According to Forbes, due to this massive healthcare ecosystem, Nashville ranked second among the best cities for job growth from 2010 to 2020.

    A sunset view of Phoenix, Arizona, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    9. Phoenix, Arizona

    Phoenix, Arizona’s capital and largest city, boasts a population of over 1.6 million and reigns as the fifth most populous in the US.  As the heart of the sprawling “Valley of the Sun” metro area, it’s also the most populated in the Southwest. It is well known for its desert climate and year-round sunshine.

    According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, Phoenix is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, with a growth rate of roughly 1.6%. The Phoenix metro is estimated to grow to more than 7.7 million by 2060 (which currently exceeds the entire population of Arizona). The available land mass surrounding Phoenix would seem to support this level of growth.

    In 2000, the Phoenix metro had a population of 3,251,876

    In 2010, the Phoenix metro had a population of 4,192,887

    In 2020, the Phoenix metro had a population of 4,845,832

    As noted previously, an increase in population corresponds to an increased demand for housing. Alongside a thriving economy, with Arizona’s largest employers being Banner Health, Arizona State University, Walmart, and Amazon, Phoenix is a great place to buy real estate in 2024.

    A view of downtown Fort Worth, Texas, one of the top cities for foreign investors in the US.

    10. Fort Worth, Texas

    Fort Worth is the state’s 5th most populous city (and 13th nationally) with a booming population of over 950,000 within the city limits. Fort Worth’s growth has skyrocketed since 2000, growing at a rate of 2% or more each year:

    In 2000, the Fort Worth metro had a population of 4,168,000

    In 2010, it was 5,149,000

    In 2020: 6,301,000

    According to a state website, North Texas’ population grows by 1 person every 4 minutes and a lot of those people are headed to Fort Worth.

    Fort Worth’s economy is made up of a variety of businesses across different sectors. The National Association of Realtors ranks the Dallas-Fort Worth area as the second highest for pent-up housing demand.

    These factors obviously contribute to a rosy outlook for real estate in the Fort Worth area.

    Considerations and Caveats

    Some Cities are Introducing Bills to Ban Foreign Investors

    In January 2023, there was a bill introduced in the Texas legislature that attempted to ban foreign investors from purchasing land there. Although it has yet to be introduced into law, it reflects a growing sentiment against foreign investment in the area.

    This is primarily an issue in cities in California, Texas, and Florida.

    If you’re interested in purchasing real estate in any of these cities for foreign investors, it might be a good idea to act quickly before legislation is enacted that makes purchasing property more difficult. 

    Interested in Buying Real Estate in These Cities for Foreign Investors?

    Defy Mortgage can help. 

    Defy paves a new path for borrowers, whether they’re self-employed or outside of the country. Our goal is to make the mortgage process smoother and simpler for underserved borrowers. With a team boasting over a century of experience, Defy Mortgage specializes in non-QM loans, helping you achieve your dream of homeownership, delivering where other banks have failed.

    We have a diverse range of loan options available for underserved borrowers, including DSCR loans, foreign national loans, bank statement loans, and more.


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