Chinese buyers pour billions into US real estate

May 16, 2016 14:26
The Chinese have overtaken the Canadians as the biggest foreign buyers of US homes. Photo: New York Times

Chinese from abroad became the largest foreign buyers of homes in the United States last year, a new study shows.

Seeking safe offshore assets as China's economy deteriorates, they have been pouring billions into American real estate, RTHK reports.

A huge surge in Chinese buying of both residential and commercial real estate last year took their five-year investment total to more than US$110 billion, the study from the Asia Society and Rosen Consulting Group found.

The inflow of investment has helped the US property market recover from the crash that began in 2006 and precipitated the 2008 economic crisis, it said.

Despite a slowdown resulting from Beijing's clampdown on capital outflows, the figure for the second half of this decade is likely to double to US$218 billion, the study said.

"What makes China different and noteworthy is the combination of the high volume of investment [and] the breadth of its participation across all real estate categories," including a "somewhat unique entry into residential purchases", it said.

Between 2010 and 2015, Chinese buyers put more than US$17 billion into US commercial real estate, with half of that spent last year alone.

But during the same period, they put at least US$93 billion into US homes.

In the 12 months to March last year, the latest period for which reliable data could be gathered, Chinese bought US$28.5 billion in US residential property, overtaking Canadians as the biggest foreign buyers.

Chinese buyers are concentrated in the most expensive markets -- New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle -- and paid on average about US$832,000 per home last year.

The average for all purchases by foreigners was US$499,600.

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