Chinese & Canadian Investors Helping To Stabilize Housing Market




Chinese buyers lead foreign  investment in US housing market


Published November 27, 2012

As the U.S. housing market slowly starts to recover, foreign investment is  helping it along.

According to the National Association of Realtors, non-American buyers  accounted for $82 billion in home sales last year. More than $7 billion of that  is by the Chinese, who are now the second largest foreign home purchasers after  Canadians. They’re buying high-end, multimillion-dollar homes from California to  New York and paying cash.

“They’re probably the top 1 percent of the Mandarin speakers that are coming  from China,” said Brent Chang, a Coldwell Banker realtor in Southern California.  “They’re really the people who have their own businesses or maybe were part of  the government.”

Some of these homes are specifically catered to Chinese buyers. Fox News  visited a home listed at $8 million in Pasadena, Calif., that had two kitchens,  the smaller one had ventilation for the cooking for aromatic or “stinky” foods  like fish. It also has a lower level in-law suite and even a koi pond.

“People from China do a lot more business in their homes so they want their  homes to really scream that they’ve made it and they’re successful, ” said  Chang.

The Chinese like the U.S. because their money goes further. In Shanghai, $2  million might only get you a two-bedroom condo.

“You get a huge bang for your buck, you get land, you get good schools, you  get a safe environment,  nice community life, ” said Linda Chang, a realtor  who works with her son, Brent, in the San Marino and Pasadena areas of  California.  

Chang says while many other real estate markets have suffered, her area has  flourished thanks to Chinese and other foreign buyers.

“It’s been fantastic for the U.S. housing market because we have not suffered  as other communities have,” said the elder Chang. “In fact, our property values  have increased.”

While some of the Chinese buyers live in the U.S. full or part-time, realtors  estimate about 40 percent of the homes are for investments. They’re snapping up  houses in states hit hard by foreclosures such as Nevada and Florida. Some are  buying two or three homes at a time.

According to Shanghai magazine Hurun Report, mainland China has almost 1  million millionaires and nearly half of them say they want to invest in the  United States.

“It’s a sign of their status,” said Betty Chan, who deals with Chinese buyers  in Las Vegas. “You can show off to your friends and family that I can buy  something overseas, not everybody can do it.”

Chan continued: “Most Chinese like to own a Mercedes … it doesn’t matter  whether a Mercedes is a good car or not. It’s just showing their status in the  community, so owning a foreign house is pretty much a prestigious status in  China, so they’re proud to tell their friends: ‘Hey, I own a house  overseas.'”

Buyers from China also invested almost $2 billion in commercial property in  2011, or quadruple what they spent several years ago.

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