Chinese homebuyers have been heading for the United States in increasing numbers in recent years. And, it’s now safe to say that their collective purchasing power has become the bread and butter of the entire US realty sector.
Evidence comes from the latest figures of the US National Association of Realtors (NAR). In the twelve months to March, the combined volume of home transactions by international buyers rose 35 percent to US$92.2 billion in the United States. Of that, up to US$22 billion, or 24 percent, came from investors from the Greater China Region, an astounding year-on-year growth of 80 percent.
Homes bought by Chinese investors are worth US$523,000 on average, two times the amount spent by Canadians who came in the second spot with total investment of US$13.8 billion.
More than three fourths of Chinese buyers pay for homes in cash. States like California, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas are among the most popular destinations, as the Hong Kong Economic Journal noted.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, was quoted as saying that a strong renminbi and concerns over weaker Chinese economic growth are prompting more Communist Party cadres and affluent entrepreneurs to go offshore. Owning a home is always a favored option to secure their wealth.
Mainland homebuyers like to travel to the US by joining guided groups, and they like their US homes to be close to each other.
In a recent survey by CNN, less than 40 percent of Chinese homebuyers will consider living in the US. No wonder, if you go to some residential quarters and Chinatowns in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Miami and other cities popular among Chinese investors, you will find that most of the homes they own are lying vacant.
Xinhua reports that a number of realty agencies have sprung up run by Chinese Americans to help their compatriot homeowners lease properties and take care of repair and maintenance as their clients spend most of their time back at home.
Some of the homes are used for illegal purposes. Very much like what’s featured in the romance movie “Finding Mr. Right (“Beijing Meets Seattle” in Chinese), CNN reports that Seattle police and immigration officers recently raided a home owned by a Chinese businessman.
The large townhouse was used as a hostel for Chinese mothers-to-be, who went to the US as tourists, but planned to overstay their visa to give birth to their babies there.
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