CHINESE ON GLOBAL HOMEBUYING SPREE AS LOCAL MARKETS TIGHTEN
Kelvin Wong, Nichola Saminather and Hui-yong Yu
Bloomberg, June 14, 2011
On a sunny Saturday in early June, Larry Zhou strolled the floor of a property exhibition in Hong Kong, wondering whether it was time to buy another home -- not in the city, where residential prices have soared 50 percent in the past two years, but maybe in Thailand or Malaysia.
“My wife and I have been thinking about investing outside of the country since we already own an apartment in Shanghai,” Zhou, a 38-year-old civil engineer, said in an interview at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre before wrapping up a business trip and returning home. “I’ve known people in Shanghai who like to bring their money and invest in Hong Kong properties, but I think Hong Kong is way too expensive.”
The two-day event that lured Zhou and 3,000 others is one way that China’s blossoming wealthy and middle classes are finding investment properties and second homes around the world -- exporting a real estate boom that has driven up prices 26 percent in Shanghai last year and 28 percent in Beijing, and bolstering markets around the world. In cities with established Chinese populations, like Sydney, Singapore, and San Francisco, Asians on homebuying tours meet brokers such as Betty Chan, who markets herself on her website as “Las Vegas’ #1 Chinese Lady Real Estate Broker.”
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