Real Estate

Chinese inquiries in U.S. property up 48%

However, inquiries by Chinese buyers in Greece and Germany outpaced interest in the U.S. market

Despite increasingly frayed relations between the two trans-Pacific superpowers, Chinese interest in U.S. property continued to remain strong during the first quarter of this year.

However, more Chinese buyers in search of global real estate spent the first quarter looking to Greece and Germany rather than the U.S.

According to a new survey released by Juwai IQI, a Hong Kong-based real estate sales and media company, Chinese inquiries into U.S. property during the first quarter grew 48% from one year earlier.

Tensions between Beijing and Washington had relatively little impact on Chinese buyers, with Juwai IQI pointing to the possible devaluation of the Chinese currency and that nation’s pandemic-weakened economy as the impetus for those seek out a secure investment environment outside of China.

“The U.S. is the classic safe market, where buyers can protect their money from international turbulence or adverse events at home,” said Juwai IQI Executive Chairman Georg Chmiel. “With financing extremely cheap, Chinese buyers who are in a position to tap U.S. mortgage markets can leverage their purchase at a very small cost. Cheap mortgages also give Chinese buyers confidence that they can reap gains as prices increase in the long term.”

Chmiel added that “extremely low financing costs in the U.S. reduce capital requirements for Chinese buyers. This makes it easier to accumulate necessary funds for the purchase and management of real estate, despite Beijing’s strict capital export controls.”

The top U.S. destinations for Chinese property buyers in the first quarter were Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Orlando and Houston. Juwai IQI also warned it was unclear whether Chinese buyer transactions would continue to increase for the remainder of the year due to the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy.

But Chinese inquiries into the U.S. paled in comparison with considerations of the Greek and German property markets. Juwai IQI found Chinese inquiries into Greece’s property opportunities were up 109% from one year earlier while interest in Germany increased by 75%.

Greece ranked high on the Chinese buyers’ radar based on the country’s property market performance compared to other European nations, the strong political and economic ties between Athens and Beijing, and Greece’s golden visa program that enables visa-free travel and residence in Europe.

Germany’s attractiveness was driven by Chinese marketers that touted the country as a safe haven for Chinese youth studying abroad.

“Your children’s life and health can be fully protected in Germany,” said one Chinese marketing claim cited by Juwai IQI. “In addition to the motherland [China], there is another very safe place on the earth, which can solve the problem of evacuation or interrupted studies for international students stranded in Britain and the United States.”

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