Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting into the US: buy a house?

Very Honest For Sale By Owner Sign
Photo by Casey Serin
I've mostly talked about strategies for getting to various non-US countries. I honestly don't much about US immigration (and I'd welcome a guest post). It looks a bit confusing, though no more so than many other countries. The main advantage the US has is that we have the same set of laws across all 50 states. This gives the US a significant immigration advantage over Europe, including the fact that the hard to obtain Green Card means permanent residency and a path to citizenship, if desired.

I did note, however, a bill which would allow foreigners to buy U.S. homes for residency. It hasn't passed yet, but if it does, it would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on residential property to live in the US. There are a few caveats, but basically, it would require you to buy at least one house to live in for $250,000 and other residential property totaling another $250,000 or more. You can rent out the extra property.

Personally, I'm all for this idea. I want to see barriers to immigration lowered, but honestly, given that the US now has %4.6 of homes empty and awaiting sale or rent, who actually thought this bill was a good idea now? Banks are foreclosing on people's homes left and right and this bill would allow them to be sold off to foreigners who can then rent a bunch of them back to the Americans who were foreclosed on? I can see this blowing up badly in some politician's faces if it passes.