EXCERPT: The Treasury Department said it’s now going to expand the program, which aims to prevent overseas buyers from money laundering by using shell companies.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, is mainly focused on major markets such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York, which attract a high volume of international buyers. Treasury officials said they plan to add Honolulu to the list of cities they monitor. The program currently monitors both cash deals and wire money transfers, they told CNBC.
“This could have a chilling effect,” Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson told CNBC. “That very high end of the market is the most vulnerable to these issues. If a lot of foreign buyers were parking their money in high-end real estate and that much of it is tainted, this rule will have an impact.”
Under FinCEN rules, title insurance companies are required to determine the identities of those who own shell companies that make real estate purchases in cash at specific price points, which are generally over $1 million.
Continues on Realty Biz News…