Travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus kept many foreign would-be buyers out of the U.S. last year—and that kept billions of their dollars out of the housing market.

Home purchases by international buyers and recent immigrants plummeted 33% from the previous year, according to a recent National Association of Realtors® report. They closed on about 107,000 of the 5.8 million existing home sales during the height of the pandemic.

“It wasn’t a surprise, because we know that travel practically shut down, and the global economy fell into a short recession,” says Gay Cororaton, NAR’s director of housing and commercial research. “There will still be a lingering impact on foreign buying in 2022.”

International purchasers spent roughly $54.4 billion on U.S. real estate—down considerably from about $74 billion a year earlier—as the…

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