The Mystery of Anonymous Investment in US Real Estate

Authors: Matt Collin, Karan Mishra, and Andreas Økland

This note addresses the significant concerns associated with anonymous real estate ownership in the United States, highlighting how a considerable amount of property, including residential real estate, is held via corporate entities that conceal the true owners. Analyzing data from three major US cities, New York, Miami and Boston, we reveal the limitations of current methods in accurately identifying foreign ownership and propose solutions for federal and state authorities to enhance transparency and understanding of the extent of cross-border real estate ownership. Without such measures, the enigma of anonymous ownership persists, obstructing our collective grasp of its breadth and implications. The fact that the size and scope of foreign investment in US real estate remains a mystery is not a data problem, but a policy one.