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Quote of the Week: Why wealthy Chinese prefer the US

By Juwai, 17 December 2013

"It’s only natural that they want to be part of a better environment – clean water, clean air, less density of people."

Leo Peng, Chief Representative & MD of Garvey Schubert Barer Beijing

The US real estate market is reaping benefits as ultra-rich Chinese continue their shopping spree for homes abroad. Driven by a quest for better living quality, including cleaner air and less population density, Chinese buyers are even venturing away from the usual hot spots like Los Angeles and San Francisco to explore cities like Seattle.

With 1.4 billion Chinese and over 700,000 millionaires in China1, property developers are avidly pursuing this segment of buyers – some even incorporate Chinese feng shui elements, such as water features, to better appeal to them.

News of Chinese purchasing homes without having viewed the property continue to spread and amaze. Jospeh Ho of Prudential Northwest Realty Associates in Bellevue says he's met Chinese buyers who purchase property after viewing them through only videos, while others will pop by for a quick combined holiday and house-hunt. These buyers usually have deep pockets to purchase on the spot, and deals usually close quickly before they jet off to return home.

Soaring property prices in Vancouver are also driving the rise in Chinese homebuyers in the US, according to Tom Chang of the East-West Bank (Pacific Northwest), the largest Chinese-American bank in the US. Results from two seminars conducted by the East-West Bank showed prospective Chinese buyers (who had obtained visas to Canada) changing their minds and opting for places like downtown Bellevue in the US, instead.

However, according to Leo Peng, Chief Representative and Managing Director of Garvey Schubert Barer in Beijing, one of the most crucial drivers of this phenomenon is the desire to invest to safeguard assets. That means affluent Chinese businessmen with homes in the US may also be planning to develop offices, apartments and malls there too.

Many of these investors have or plan to procuring investor visas from the US or Canada; 80% of investor visas issued were granted to Chinese in 2012.

“This is just the beginning of a huge wave of investment,” Peng says.

Read the full story here on The Seattle Times.



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Source: 1. China Merchants Bank and Bain, May 2013