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US realty mkt emerges as investment destination for Indians

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Mumbai: With the US market emerging as an attractive investment destination, there is a growing interest from Indians to buy properties there, property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said.

According to a report published by the US National Association of Realtors, buyers from India purchased residential properties in the US estimated at USD 5.8 billion in value during the one-year period ending March 2014.

This investment magnitude recorded a growth of around 6 percent over 2013.

The report also said Indians spent USD 459,028 or Rs 2.81 crore on an average to buy properties across cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, and New York.

“This is definitely an interesting finding. Indian high networth individuals (HNIs) who have obtained American citizenship and are settled there have several reasons for investing in properties in the US.

Apart from India’s long-standing love affair with the country, many Indians who have become naturalised US citizens have business interests as well as families in major American cities,” JLL Chairman and Country Head Anuj Puri said in a statement.

He noted that after the steep post-Lehman downturn, countless investors had been able to snap up properties in American cities at unbelievably low prices, and these investments are seeing handsome returns now that the US real estate market is reviving.

The Reserve Bank of India has recently increased the ceiling on outward remittances for individuals to buy overseas property under the Liberalised Remittances Scheme (LRS) to USD 1,25,000 from USD 75,000.

“This enhanced investment limit is a small but important window. For example, a married couple can now together buy a small property in a US suburb if they have the inclination to do so. Previously, real estate as an option was entirely withdrawn from the LRS scheme and the limit purview,” Puri explained.

He further said that since quite a few apartments in the US are currently held by institutional investors who had bought them during crisis from distressed sellers, it is easy for a foreign buyer to make such deals with such institutions rather than with individual US house owners.

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