The Chinese are now the second-largest foreign investors in U.S. real estate after Canadians, spending $9 billion from March 2011 to March 2012.
Chinese citizens are looking overseas for better investment properties and the US is a preferred destination. This is driven by the fact that real estate prices in China have been climbing very fast over the last few years, and, as a result, the Chinese government has been implementing policies to restrict domestic real estate investment.
Areas that are popular with Chinese people include the greater Los Angeles area, New York and San Francisco.
“The American real estate market began to rebound last year, and housing prices, especially in areas popular with the Chinese have been on the rise. Some houses even doubled or tripled in value,” Fu Yi, a Chinese real estate agent working in Los Angeles said. “I work until 9 every night, going with clients to see houses. Some call me in the middle of the night. I get even busier on weekends and holidays.”
But the Chinese are not only buying for investment purposes. San Marino is one of the most in-demand cities because it has several good schools, and Chinese perceive it to be a wealthy area: Houses for sale are minimum $2 million. Most Chinese who plan to buy in San Marino decide to reside there. Overall, in Southern California, Chinese buy houses less than $500,000 for investment purposes and they buy houses priced over $1 million for personal use.
As a result of the growing Chinese interest, developers and agents are all making efforts to focus on Chinese clients. While most Chinese foreigner purchase houses with hard cash, a few banks are now offering mortgages to Chinese citizens. Developers start considering the fact that Chinese families will usually have grandparents living with them, and will make adjustments to the design of the houses. For example, developers will now build at least one bedroom on the first floors of two-story homes in order to avoid that the grandparents will have to climb stairs.
Chinese homeowners usually concentrate in areas closer to Chinese communities. “40 percent of new Chinese immigrants in southern California choose to live in Greater Los Angeles, particularly in San Gabriel valley,” real estate agent Su Jiamin said.
Source: International Business Times, May 2013