International Buyers Making Their Mark

Eastside luxury homes draw global buyers
Midori 15

Photos by Dane Gregory Meyer

By J. Lennox Scott

Many international buyers are looking at the United States as a viable option to invest in real estate, and in recent years, they’ve become an important clientele for real estate agents who specialize in the marketing and selling of luxury homes — especially on the Eastside.

The latest National Association of Realtors figures show international buyers spending about $68 billion on real estate in the last year. In the Seattle Eastside market, luxury homes typically start in the $1 million range. Combine these beautiful homes with a great school system, stunning waterfront views and the Eastside is a very desirable market. There are a number of obvious reasons why international buyers have chosen to invest in the Eastside, but it is also important to understand what is driving their decisions.

Many of these affluent buyers have the ability to pay cash for real estate transactions. According to Luxury Portfolio International (, the luxury home division of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (the country’s largest real estate network of independent real estate companies, such as John L. Scott in the Northwest), buyers are savvy with their money. They do not buy just because they can. They have held back their purchase in times of economic uncertainty in order to make sure their money is used to its maximum value.

Midori 03As an example of buyers being smart with their money, a John L. Scott agent was working with a buyer to purchase a house in the $750,000 range. After losing some purchase opportunities in bidding wars, the buyer waited until the economy strengthened and came back with an increased budget of $4,000,000.

While there will always be buyers who are looking for larger, more grand properties, a new trend is emerging. Many affluent buyers are looking for houses that do not stand out and scream for attention. They are also looking to maintain a certain level of quality and craftsmanship. Again, they are careful and calculated with their investments so there is a bit of a balancing act required.

Midori 25Regardless of the size of the house, the cost, or any other reason for purchasing, family is at the heart of most transactions. Buyers are going to make sure it will fit the needs of their entire family for years to come.

As the economy continues to improve and conditions remain favorable, we can expect to see more international buyers entering the market. This influx of buyers may bring a new wave of talent and entrepreneurial spirit to the already blossoming Eastside.

J. Lennox Scott is the Chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. He is the third generation to run the family business, which was founded by his grandfather in 1931. Lennox has earned widespread national recognition, including three nods as one of the 25 Most Influential People in Real Estate by Realtor Magazine. He is a member of the National Association of Realtors, the World President Organization and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. He has a business degree from the University of Washington.

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