In the future, it could be possible to obtain Permanent Resident status in the United States by buying a house. Two U.S. Senators, one Democrat and one Republican, have worked together on a bill that would make a green card available to a foreigner who invests $500,000 in real estate in the United States. One of the two senators, Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, says that offering green cards for real-estate investments is a way to boost demand in the market with no cost to the government. The market for U.S. property is already growing abroad, while the demand among local buyers remains low.
A weak U.S. dollar combined with low prices on American real estate has contributed to a 24% rise in properties bought by foreigners last year, compared to the year before. The National Association of Realtors says foreigners bought $82 billion-worth of homes in the U.S. last year. At the same time, potential house buyers in the U.S. hesitate to buy because they worry about the job market, or because they have less money than before. Americans who already own a home would have to sell at considerable loss if they were to buy a new house, leading house prices to drop 32% since 2006. The National Association of Realtors also says that U.S. house sales to foreigners are divided between people who just recently relocated to the United States, and those who live abroad, and they suggest that many who buy American property do it with the intent to immigrate. The possibility of obtaining a resident visa along with property could work as an extra incentive for those who are already interested in moving to the U.S.