The Chinese are the biggest foreign buyers of U.S. real estate; they account for 31 percent of international real estate sales in Texas last year. That’s second only to Latin American buyers. The Chinese are showing no signs of slowing down. Diana Olick is a chief real estate correspondent for CNBC.
On why Chinese buyers are coming to Texas:
“They’re really looking for not only a safe haven for their money to take it out of China, but they’re also looking to live here, to educate their children here and to enjoy a good quality of life. Texas is offering that. They’re looking towards the big cities: Houston, Dallas, cities with major universities…also [cities] with relatively affordable housing. They did set their sights on California, but housing there has gotten incredibly expensive. Texas is offering them a little more for their money.”
On construction companies adapting to their new customers:
“Out in Cali we visited a very large development that had some of the big public home builders out there…. They’re actually doing some feng shui and looking at design for multigenerational [living], because a lot of the Chinese, along with some of Latin Americans as well, are bringing whole families….They’re doing the in-law-suites a lot more. They’re looking toward that international buyer and what they really want, so you are seeing some designs which are actually focused on Chinese [buyers].”
On what the future holds with this trend:
“It’s a slow investment. I’ve talked to a lot of real estate agents from Dallas and Houston. They say it’s a steady game that they are seeing more Chinese coming into the market. We’re seeing that in other states as well. I think we will continue to see the Chinese buyer here. It’s interesting to me that they became the largest purchaser of U.S. real estate even over Canada. Canada has always been the biggest player in U.S. real estate. Will [the Chinese’s] own economy at home hurt them? Perhaps, but what I keep hearing from the experts I talk to is that more, now than ever, want to get their money out. U.S. real estate is that safe haven.”