Chinese buyers have consistently ranked first among foreign nationals purchasing property in the United States, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Washington Post Contributor Troy McMullen.

U.S. home sales to Chinese nationals totals $27.3 billion, and could hit $50 billion by 2025. Markets such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York are seeing an influx of Chinese buyers in their luxury markets.

While the influx of investment from China is lifting some markets, it is reshaping many others, real estate experts say. The torrent of cash is fueling sharply rising prices and dwindling housing supply while keeping home ownership out of reach of first-time buyers in some of the country’s most important real estate markets.

Factors that typically influence real estate sales in most places, such as income levels and the strength of local economies, do not mean as much when large numbers of outside buyers from places such as China invade a market, says Nela Richardson, chief economist at national realty brokerage Redfin. “Local fundamentals aren’t necessarily the driving factors when that happens,” Richardson says. “That affects buyers who live in these places and can lead to locals essentially being priced out of their own markets.”

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