Some Chinese home buyers prefer residential units in small towns like Diamond Bar, located in the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. Photo: Bob Nehme
Los Angeles (People’s Daily) – Chinese buyers’ appetite for American homes, throughout the US, is showing little sign of abating. In California, cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles have been getting more than their fair share of Chinese interest for more than a decade.
“There’s a big Chinese community here, so if you live here, you don’t have to speak English—life is convenient—and also, they believe the market is stable relative to other markets,” said Vincent Ruan, a renowned real estate agent in Sothern California.
Ruan also cited the weather factor, and the fact that Chinese immigrants tend to operate from the perspective the US is a safe place to work and play.
Chinese capital used for investing in residential and commercial real estate abroad hit the $33 billion-mark last year, according to JLL Global Capital Flows, an increase of more than 50 percent compared to 2015, which was a cool year. This coincides with Ruan’s assertion the housing market in California is not to be affected by the cyclical fluctuations regarding the Chinese economy or its US counterpart—a trend reflected nationally.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports US homes purchased by Chinese nationals this year totaled $31.7 billion thus far, up from $27.3 billion in 2016. China retained its top position in sales dollar amount for the fourth year in a row, acquiring a total of 40,572 housing units, an increase of more than 10,000 units over last year.
Despite a slight drop in California home sales this year Chinese buyers remain a stabilizing force on the market, observers say. Today, they constitute about a third of all buyers.
“I don’t think so, because if the sales shrink somewhat, the demand and supply will remain modest. For people who want to live here, buying a house can be necessary,” echoed Cathy Chen, renowned Southland real estate agent, commenting on the perceived cooling-down of the Chinese buyer market.
Chinese real estate investment in the US is here to stay. It is a trend, according to many experts, that has numerous years to expend.
Some believe cyclical fluctuations are inevitable. Last time the market crashed was in 2008, and since playing the market is part science part art, it’s easy to believe we’ve now scratched the “seven-year itch.”