Chinese interest in U.S. real estate grows

Chinese have ranked as the top foreign buyers of residential homes in the U.S. for six straight years. Traditionally, Chinese buyers have mostly focused on buying higher-end homes, but these days they’re increasingly looking at low-priced properties as well, the National Association of Realtors says.

Up until recently, most Chinese buyers have snapped up million-dollar properties in all-cash deals. Recently though, middle-class buyers from China have also moved into the market, snapping up lower-priced homes in the U.S. In addition, these buyers are more likely to take out a mortgage to finance such purchases, the latest data from the NAR shows.

“The Chinese people still see the United States as a safe harbor where they can take their assets and park their money not only for their money but also for the future of their children,” Michi Olson, a real estate professional in San Francisco, told CNBC.

NAR data shows that the median price of a home bought by a Chinese national in the U.S. fell from $530,000 in 2017 to just $439,000 in 2018. The top locations for Chinese buyers in the U.S. include California, Florida, Georgia and Texas.

“The Chinese are basically politically agnostic,” Olson says. “What I mean by that is even though there is a great tension between the U.S. government and Chinese, the Chinese citizen seems to be able to separate the political turmoil with the sound real estate investment.”

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