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Should We Let Foreigners Buy Homes for Visas?

Image: Robert Burns/LA Times

The stimulus didn’t work. The bank bailouts didn’t work. Homeowner assistance
and refinancing didn’t work. So could the key to solving the US housing
crisis be letting foreigners buy real estate for visas?

The bipartisan proposal, part of a package that also would make
it easier for international tourists to visit the U.S., is similar to
an existing program that puts foreigners on a fast track to a green
card if they invest at least $500,000 in an American business that creates
at least 10 jobs.

"Many people want to come and live in the United States,"
said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who introduced the legislation Thursday
along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). "They will be here spending
money and paying taxes, and the most important thing is they’ll sop
up the extra supply of homes we have right now compared to demand, and
that’s what’s dragging our economy down."

The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that would be
renewable every three years, but the proposal would not put them on
a path to citizenship. To be eligible, a person would have to buy a
primary residence of at least $250,000 and spend a total of $500,000
on residential real estate. The other properties could be rented.

Jim Puzzanghera and Lauren Beale of The Los Angeles Times report: Link

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