EB-5 Visa Opportunities for Real Estate Investors, by Kevin Fitzgerald

The EB-5 visa program provides a streamlined path to United States citizenship for foreign investors. Initially introduced in 1990, the program has swelled in popularity in recent years because of two factors: the weakness in the U.S. housing market and the program’s job-creation requirement.

In order to qualify for an EB-5 visa, an individual must invest at least $1 million, or at least $500,000 in an economically troubled area, and that investment must create a minimum of 10 permanent jobs. In return, the investor receives a green card, which confers permanent resident status and can lead to citizenship.

Since the collapse of the housing market that launched the recession, foreign investors have flocked to EB-5 visa opportunities in distressed U.S. housing markets. These investments benefit all parties: communities enjoy increased employment and an influx of investment, and investors are able to secure property in the United States, along with improved odds of obtaining citizenship.

About the Author
As CEO of U.S. Advisors, Kevin Fitzgerald managed real estate acquisitions worth billions of dollars.

Trends in California Home Prices, By Kevin Fitzgerald

Since 1975, home prices in California have steadily risen, with the exception of the rapid decline following the 2008 burst in the housing bubble. The average annual rate of home value appreciation has been 5.7% from 1975 to 2011. The average home price in California peaked at around $535,000 in the spring of 2006. Home prices have been at a low of about $300,000 since late 2008 and early 2009. But housing prices are starting to slowly rise, particularly in the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

This situation presents an ideal opportunity for investors to acquire housing at historically low prices. Investors buying houses can lease them for a profit or hold them for appreciation, as the housing market continues follow historical trends and return to higher values. Investors have the opportunity to seek the help of property management and investment firms in acquiring and managing their properties, making maintenance and upkeep simple and profitable.

About the Author:

Kevin Fitzgerald formerly served as the CEO of U.S. Advisors, LLC. He has years of experience in real estate investment.

The Success of Napa Square

When project developer CDI LLC approached U.S. Advisors in 2006 about developing business and retail space in downtown Napa, California, we agreed to participate in the project, designed to provide upscale shops and places for financial-sector businesses to establish themselves. The project was called Napa Square.

When the recession hit, the plans for Napa Square shifted, but the project itself remained on task. When Napa Square opened in 2009, the participating retailers included more restaurants than upscale boutiques. Gradually, though, other businesses (including a fine arts gallery, a real estate agent, and a high-end cookery store) moved into the square.

In 2010, Napa Square and its creators won a “Top Projects” award from the North Bay Business Journal in the mixed-use category. In an announcement about the prize, the Journal recognized the crucial role of Napa Square’s developers in continuing to invest in Napa’s economic future despite the difficult financial climate that gripped the country during the project’s execution.

About Kevin Fitzgerald

During his tenure as CEO of U.S. Advisors, Mr. Fitzgerald engaged in a number of real estate investment projects and joint ventures, including the creation of Napa Square.