Will This Bill Entice Foreigners into the US Housing Market?

A new bill, to be co-sponsored by Charles Schumer (D-N-Y) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), proposes to dangle the carrot of a U.S. Visa to international investors who invest in residential real estate (NYSE:IYR) in the U.S.

Seeking to improve the moribund housing market, the bill requires the foreigners to pay in cash, pay U.S. Taxes, and spend at least 180 days a year in the country. They would be allowed to live in the U.S. for at least three years, but may not work here or take loans against the properties.

According to National Association of Realtors (NAR) foreigners spent $82 billion buying up U.S. homes (NYSE:IYR) in the last 12 months. Foreigners appear to have more confidence in the U.S. real estate market than Americans do. Almost half of buyers surveyed by NAR cited safety of their investments as the main factor that persuaded them to buy.