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Foreign buyers made up a quarter of the investors buying and selling homes in California this spring , with China, India and Mexico listed as the top countries of origin.

About six percent of investors came from China, according to a survey of real estate agents released Wednesday by the California Association of Realtors. Buyers from India and Mexico each comprised 3 percent of the total.

Nearly two-thirds of agents said their investor clients planned to keep their properties more than one year. About one in four intended to flip the properties, quickly offering them for resale. The rest said their clients had “other” plans.

The April email survey drew 719 responses from agent members throughout California who had worked with investors in the last 12 months.

The majority of investors were deemed “the small mom-and-pop type,” according to the association. Forty-six percent owned two to five properties, with 15 percent holding just one property and another 14 percent owning six to 10 properties.

The investor’s top reason for buying or selling real estate was “profit potential,” named by about one in three agents. That was followed by “good price”, given by one in four respondents.

Other findings:
* Two-thirds of investors paid cash for recent purchases.
* Three out of four buyers planned to keep the property for less than six years.
* The median rate of return on investment was estimated at 14 percent.

— Robert Digitale

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