HOUSTON - Houston's active real estate market is getting attention from buyers across the border, as some pricier properties are being marketed to wealthy buyers who may use their purchase as an investment in their safety.
Since 1990, the EB-5 visa program has allowed tens of thousands of foreign nationals to invest in job-creating projects, in the United States, in exchange for permanent residency status. If these 'investors' are going to be residents, they'll need someplace to live.
A promotional video will soon appear on TV's in Mexico City, touting the safety of real estate investments in the U.S. and encouraging people there to protect their finances and families.
The centerpiece of the video is a Houston mansion for sale. Technically, it sits along Buffalo Speedway in West University Place. Built in 1981, the home boasts more than 9,200 square feet of living space, including lush gardens and a pool. Priced at $3.3 million dollars, it's a unique property that may be the perfect fit for a wealthy foreign investor.
"With the instability that we have in Mexico, people desire to live somewhere 'safe', and so most of our clients have been of Mexican backgrounds," says realtor Maria Rebollar, who says she has sold several homes to such investors.
In this case, the homeowner finally has an 'empty nest' and is looking to downsize. After more than three months on the market, she's excited about finding a buyer.
"They tend to close fast; they're cash buyers and they are appreciative of what we have in the U.S.," says Nancy Micek.
Micek and Rebollar are hopeful they may find a buyer in the next week.
Meantime, the EB-5 visa program that helps encourage these sales, is set to expire at the end of the month. There is a bill on Capitol Hill that looks to extend it.