Chinese buyers are now the biggest international players in the U.S. housing market and some states are seeing billions of dollars in real estate deals as a result.
More than half of the $22 billion Chinese buyers spent on U.S. homes during the 12 months ended in March was spent in California, Washington and New York, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The hottest markets: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York and Seattle, according to Juwai.com, a Hong Kong-based website that connects Chinese buyers with U.S. properties.
California is particularly attractive because it’s so close to the homeland, and its major cities have large Chinese-American populations and attractive climates and lifestyles, said Andrew Taylor, Juwai’s co-CEO.
“Plus, it has a thriving tech industry that employs many Chinese,” he said.
Leslie Appleton-Young, the chief economist for the California Association of Realtors, said there had always been a small cadre of real estate agents in California who work with international buyers, but the number has exploded over the past two or three years.
“The global real estate market is a reality,” she said.
In Seattle, tech jobs and universities are a big draw. Many Chinese parents are buying condos for their kids who are attending school there.
Clients in Manhattan spend between $1 million and $4 million and many treat the purchases solely as investments. “They use it as a hedge to diversify their holdings,” said Tan, a real estate agent.