A record $31.7 billion was spent by the Chinese on US residential real estate in 2016, keeping their leading position regarding dollar sales for the fourth consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The figure was more than ten percent up from the $28.6 billion in Chinese investments in the sector in 2015.

According to the agency, Canadians have been catching up with transactions at $19 billion, also a record.

Growing interest from Canadian buyers comes from the high price of real estate in Canada, especially in Toronto and Vancouver, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

All in all, foreign buyers along with recent migrants brought a record $150.3 billion to the US real estate market, marking a 49 percent year-over-year increase the association reports.

International buyers purchased 284,455 homes, which accounts for ten percent of the dollar volume of existing-home sales.

“The political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad did not deter foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of US property over the past year,” Yun said in a statement.

“While the strengthening of the US dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home-price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the US is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest,” the economist added.

Florida (22 percent), California (12 percent) and Texas (12 percent) remain the top destinations for foreigners, according to the NAR.

Canadians reportedly prefer Florida, Chinese buyers favor California, while Mexican buyers mostly buy residential property in Texas.

RT