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Buying US Land On A Visa – That’ll Do Nicely!

July 16, 2009Article by Ray Withers

Foreign nationals – especially those from the UK – make up a significant percentage of homebuyers in the USA and now new special visa categories that allow foreign nationals to gain US residency can help ease buying US property.

One program allows an international buyer to attain conditional permanent residence by investing $500,000 in a limited partnership at various government-maintained regional centres.Another stipulates an investment of $1 million to create 10 new full-time positions for US workers.Visas are also available for foreign investors who manage various types of businesses in the USA, including rental properties, condos and franchises and those in the export and import business.

With US house prices stuck in a trough like those in the UK, a lot of investors are looking at land banking and building when prices go up.Land investment like this is finding a suitable plot of land that is likely to rise in value because it is on the route of future development or in a desirable location.

One such place is the Fairways Residence at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The city is a holiday destination for millions older US tourists and is famous for being within driving distance of dozens of golf courses. As if the golf wasn’t enough, South Carolina has the 60-mile Grand Strand of pristine beach, of which Myrtle Beach is a part.South Carolina is also easy to get to in the US – only 40 minutes flight from New York. A typical plot to land bank is for sale at Fairway Residence, a gated resort in the heart of the established Island Green Country Club, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,Investors can secure a building plot at a pre-launch price of £21,000, exclusively through Property Frontiers. 

The plots offer the opportunity to either land bank or to construct a luxury home and take advantage of the uplift associated with property development.Investors will have the option to develop their plots through a joint venture between Property Frontiers and one of South Carolina’s most experienced developers, Tower Developments.Options will include three and four bedroom-detached houses.

Fairway is a typical land bank choice because the real estate already comes with infrastructure and zoning. Myrtle Beach is also popular as a golf, beach and entertainment resort, so unlike other areas, sourcing holiday renters does not only rely on one sector.

The city is relatively small – with a population of about 25,000 split over about 12,000, and about 45% of the homes are rented long-term, according to federal statistics.Prices have been relatively free from the crisis that has gripped many US states – with Myrtle Beach only recording about a 10% drop in the year.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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