Las Vegas is the 3rd most searched U.S. cities on the Internet from investors outside of the United States, according to Realtor.com/International (Los Angeles is first, Miami is second). While real estate purchases by foreign nationals and foreign entities are not currently tracked in Nevada, there are enough soft data to suggest that Las Vegas continues to be an attractive place to invest for both domestic and foreign investors.

The National Association of REALTORS® 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity reveals that an estimated $92.2 Billion was invested in residential properties for the 12 month period ending in March 2014. Data was consolidated from a random sample of 100,000 REALTORS® surveyed, of which 3,547 responded. This is not hard data, relying on the responses of agents who may or may not actually track their transactions. It is at least a good indicator as to the trends regarding origin, destination and buying preferences of international clients. NAR has been tracking international home buying activity since 2007 and this annual report serves as a reference point for global industry leaders.

This study also exposes the barriers of entry for foreign investors into the US marketplace and opportunities for the REALTORS® who serve them.

What is considered an international client according to this profile? There are two categories: Non Resident Foreigners: foreign clients with permanent residences outside of the U.S. – these clients typically purchase property for investments, vacations, or visits to the U.S. of less than six months.

Resident Foreigners: clients who are recent immigrants (in the country less than two years), or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the U.S. for professional, educational, or other reasons.

These two groups are practically equal in their participation in the housing market, adding up to almost 8% of the purchases made across the country. However, their representation is concentrated in some key states: Florida, California, Arizona and Texas.

Additional highlights of this report:

The mean ($396,180) and median ($268,284) sales price is significantly higher for international buyers than domestic buyers ($246,417 mean/$199,575 median).

The average purchase price of investors from China is the highest, followed by those from India, the United Kingdom, Canada then Mexico. Approximately 60% of purchases are made in all cash, mostly because it is a challenge for foreigners to obtain financing due to lack of U.S. credit history and lending requirements.

42% reported that they intended to use their property as a primary residence. Uses include international students enrolled in higher education in the U.S. and professionals relocating for business.

About half preferred suburban areas, a quarter in central city and urban areas and 13% located to resort areas. 56% of the investors chose to purchase in the U.S. because of the security and profitability of U.S. properties, 37% referenced that the U.S. is simply a desirable location.

59% of the clients came from past clients or personal/professional referral sources. 19% came from online marketing 14% from localized marketing (signs, print ads, open houses).

Of those who did not purchase, they cited exorbitant closing costs and taxes as the main issue and not finding a property as a secondary issue.

Foreign investors continue to assess proximity to their home country and ease of travel as important factors influencing their decision-making on where to purchase.

How does this information translate into best practices for real estate professionals to incorporate? First, build strong, personal and professional relationships with people across the globe. Second, enlighten them on your marketplace and the services you provide.

Third, educate them on the true total costs of buying and maintaining real estate in your marketplace. Include examples on how your marketplace compares to competing markets ex: Las Vegas verses Phoenix or Los Angeles.

Fourth, have some financing options available from hard money to conventional lending.

Fifth, promote to locations abroad that have direct flights into your market. Know the difference in buying between these two cities, so you understand your clients’ perspectives. Real estate customs are local and are very different from one city/town/county/state to the next, let alone from one country to the next.

Sixth, put a team together to help support you in expanding your business. Include at least one of each: a lender, banker, immigration attorney, asset protection attorney, tax accountant, title/escrow representative, business broker, commercial agent, concierge service, and a translator/ interpreter if necessary.

With Canadians, Las Vegas is the most searched city, followed by Detroit. So, it would be a wise business practice to compare the Detroit market to Las Vegas when advertising Las Vegas property in Canada. It would also be a good idea to have an excellent REALTOR® in Detroit to refer overflow leads to as needed.

Australians are also very interested in Las Vegas, which shows up as their fourth most searched destination, after LA, NYC and Detroit. Making connections with real estate professionals and financial advisors in Australia who are open to referring clients outside of their country would be a valuable way to attract Australian investors.

Las Vegas also shows up in fourth place with residents of Russia, after LA, Orlando and Houston. Making connections with Russian organizations locally may be a good opportunity to explore that potential market; possibly partnering with a Russian-speaking professional if that is not a language you speak. Do not let language limit you from capitalizing on this expanding market-share; rather, adjust your business model to serve growing trends.

Mastermind with your fellow real estate professionals for more ideas and opportunities. To download the complete report referenced above, go to Realtor.org/Global and for additional education and connectivity, attend a GLVAR Global Business Committee meeting or event.