Foreign property ownership in America is a real problem. Why are we allowing foreign people and entities to buy property in America? This has gone on for years but is recently back in the news because China bought about 130,000 acres near a US Air Force Base in Texas and another 300 acres near an Air Force Base in North Dakota. Why this is allowed is beyond me. China, while we have a trading partnership with them, is an adversary. China or the Chinese have been busy buying up real estate, land and farmland in the United States. China owns 380,000 acres of land in the United States. It amazes me that in the midst of a “housing crisis” we are allowing foreign entities to buy up housing and land here in the United States. We as Americans cannot do that in China. In fact, no one can buy land in China, even the Chinese. The government owns all land, and the people of China can lease it from the government. As a foreigner you can buy a house to go on the land in China but only if it is your primary residence and you are going to live in it full time. No renting. No flipping. No nothing else. Unlike here. In fact, in the very rural community I live in there is at least one house recently bought by a Chinese citizen that has stood vacant and unused for a year. Again, we are having a housing shortage here and we are selling homes to foreigners who don’t even use them? Taking away from Americans the ability to buy or rent a home, no doubt also raising housing prices. This should not be allowed. If it is there should be strict rules like China has, no land, and you can only buy a home if you live in it full time. Only twenty-four states in the US have foreign land ownership laws. These are mostly states in the middle of the country. No state has a complete prohibition. Most east coast and west coast states expressly ALLOW foreign investment. Politicians in these states, in my opinion, have sold out. Even Texas, presently, allows foreign investment although they are trying to change that. It seems everything is for sale in this country, doesn’t matter to who. In some states foreigners have the same rights you do as an American citizen. Is our land not sovereign? I guess we already know the answer to that question. This isn’t a Biden Administration thing either, although they certainly have done nothing to stem the flow of foreigners to this country in the last several years. Aside from “legitimate” foreign transactions, they’ve allowed a record 8 million illegals into the country, 70% of which are nationalities other than Mexican. As of December 31st, 2021 (the most recent year there is data for), foreign persons reported holding an interest in over 40 million acres of all privately held US agricultural land up from 37.6 million acres in 2020.
What’s more troubling is China isn’t even in the top five of foreign countries owning land in the US. Canada is number one with 12,845,209 acres. Then the Netherlands 4,875034 acres, Italy 2,703,340 acres, and the UK with 2,537898 acres. These five own 33% of foreign owned land. The remaining 38% is held by entities from almost a hundred other countries. A hundred. This foreign land ownership is reported in all 50 states but concentrated mainly in Texas, Maine, Alabama, Oklahoma and Colorado.
What do they do with this land? Food production, wind farming, carbon offsets, and speculative investments. In 2019, 49% of reported foreign-held acreage in the US was forest land, 25% was crop land, 24% was for pasture and other agricultural uses, and 2% was for non-agricultural uses such as homesteads and roads. Experts claim this land ownership is not enough to threaten national food security. That being said, these large land purchases do cause localized concerns. A glaring example is in Arizona where fresh water is scarce, and they have no rules on groundwater pumping as long as it is for “beneficial use,” which includes agriculture even if the products are shipped elsewhere. Near a 10,000-acre hay farm run by a Saudi subsidiary, local residents say their wells are going dry. They are having to have water trucked in. It’s crazy in a state with limited water resources, in the desert, they wouldn’t think far enough ahead to have laws to protect this resource. To protect its resident citizens.
Each State has its own laws regarding foreign land ownership. The only federal law governing these transactions is the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978 (AFIDA). The AFIDA require foreign entities to report transactions of farmland to the USDA and imposes steep penalties for failing to report, although they are rarely enforced, the last fine imposed was in 2014. The USDA claims that its goal is to monitor foreign ownership of land, not to exact penalties. Given the state of the data, it seems it is doing neither. The data is entirely reliant on self-reporting, and the USDA does not check it for completeness and accuracy, so there are frequent typos, omissions, and outdated information. Isn’t it nice to know the federal regulators could care less about monitoring foreign investors, no doubt there are plenty of kickbacks to go around, but when it comes to regulating American citizens, you can bet they will be all over it. You can count on full investigations and monitoring and no side room deals. It’s pretty disgusting really.
Alot of this land grabbing started after climate regulations started being enacted. Countries looking for places to grow biofuels, establish wind farms and alternate energy, look for resources for alternate energy and to establish carbon off sets. This is just more of a push for open global borders hidden behind property sales, foreign investment and “green” legislation. It’s not just foreigners doing this either, the US owns some 9 million acres in other countries as well. Something the Democrats claim to be staunchly against, land grabbing, and yet their own policies have created a global rush with everyone looking to grab resources. No foreign entity should be able to purchase our natural resources, regardless of the scope or scale. If we have extra, it should be sold at market, and we should retain the resource to grow and/or produce. No American citizens should suffer at the hands of a foreign entity operating on US soil. It seems like this should be common sense. It seems like this should be a security concern, especially given the current state of global affairs. Allowing the Chinese to buy property next to two military bases? This doesn’t strike anyone as suspicious?
Residential home sales aren’t exempt from foreign ownership either. Like I mentioned earlier, a Chinese buyer bought a home in my small rural community, and it sat vacant for a year now. In 2021, over one in seven US households were headed by a foreign-born resident. Now those may or may not be people who hold green cards, visa’s or became citizens. That being said, there are no restrictions in the US on purchasing property as a foreign national or getting a mortgage loan through a US bank.
International buyers purchased $59 billion worth of US residential properties from April 2021-March 2022, up 8.5% from the previous year. Thats 98,000 homes. China, Canada India, Mexico and Brazil were the top five countries of origin by US residential sales dollar volume. The top US destinations for foreign buyers were Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, New York and North Carolina. Foreign buyers who lived abroad purchased nearly half of those homes. About 31% of Chinese buyers purchased homes in California. All cash sales accounted for 44% of international buyer transactions. 60% of all non-resident foreign buyers made all cash purchases. 58% Chinese, 27% Mexican and 26% of the Brazilian buyers made all cash purchases. 44% of foreign buyers purchased their property for use as a vacation home, rental property or both. 64% of international buyers purchased detached single-family homes and townhouses. 46% purchased a home in suburbs while 29% bought a home in an urban area.
This also I see as problem. How many of these foreigners who live in other countries took homes from American citizens who were trying to buy them? To use for what purpose? A rental? An Airbnb? A vacation home? Or something more nefarious? How many of those “Chinese citizens” are a front for the Chinese government? How many Chinese corporations are buying up homes in the US either as the corporation or using a “citizen” as a front to purchase? Home prices are at record highs, that’s a lot of cash purchases going on. How many cash purchased homes by people from South of the border are being used by the cartels? Certainly not all are nefarious, but I guarantee you some are. Stash houses, drug dens, safe houses, sex trafficking, human trafficking. We all know these are huge problems right now and the people perpetrating these crimes need bases of operation. Don’t pretend this isn’t happening or it’s not that bad – it is. Why are foreigners allowed to out purchase Americans who need homes? Our own state and federal governments are crying about the housing shortages and trying to change laws to limit single family dwellings and have more apartments and townhouses built to accommodate more and more people and yet they are allowing non-citizens to purchase homes that could be helping relieve pressure. How much of these foreign purchases have contributed to the sky rocketing housing prices? Research shows that house prices and rents have risen in places that have seen large doses of foreign investment. Whose pockets are being lined? Who’s being paid to look the other way? Your politicians that’s who. Whether it’s through a lobbyist or some direct connection or relationship, they are looking the other way, ignoring the problem because it benefits them. Meanwhile they are selling this country out. Selling your American dream to a foreigner who doesn’t even live here. Causing your rent to go up making it impossible to ever save up enough to buy a house. Canada dealt with this problem in their country this year by enacting the foreign home ownership ban as on January 1st, 2023. In an effort to address the current housing crisis, the act prevents non-Canadians, and corporations controlled by non-Canadian’s, from purchasing residential property in Canada for two years.
The land and property grab that is being allowed to occur in the US needs to be addressed. Federal restrictions should be created to greatly limit what a foreigner or foreign entity who does not live in the US can buy. None of our resources that provide for our infrastructure should be for sale to a foreigner or foreign entity. No foreigner or foreign entity should be able to purchase property in the US that takes from an American, whether by the property itself or by the natural resources it uses up around it. These purchases need more scrutiny, the USDA needs to start actually doing its job, and the Federal government needs to protect our interests here at home. When are we going to learn that it needs to be America and Americans first? After it’s too late? I urge you to reach out to your representatives and tell them to put a stop to this or come up with some sensible restrictions that protect Americans and their interests.
Reference:
The National Agricultural Law Center; Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land: FAQs & Resource Library
The National Agricultural Law Center; Statutes Regulating Ownership of Agricultural Land. Micah Brown and Nick Spellman.
CSIS; Foreign Purchases of US Agricultural Land: Facts, Figures and an Assessment of Real Threats. Jamie Lutz and Caitlin Welsh, 9/8/21.
National Association of Realtors; Annual Foreign Investment in US Existing Home Sales Climbed 8.5% to $59 Billion, Ending Three-Year Slide. Troy Green, 7/18/22.
Knowledge at Wharton; How Foreign Purchases of US Homes Impact Prices and Supply. Benjamin Keys, 9/1/2020.
Forbes Advisor; Canada’s Ban on Foreign Property Buyers: How it May Affect You. Renee Sylvestre-Williams, 6/19/23.

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