Is It A Return to ’80s Style Protectionism Or Just A Slow News Day? Both?
Several American media outlets have reported lately on groups of wealthy Chinese coming to the US to snatch up distressed real estate. Although these stories ring of sensationalism, they are true — however, as with everything, they must be qualified. Here’s BusinessWeek‘s recent take on these mainland “real estate tourists”:
At the end of February, 40 wealthy Chinese embarked on a housing tour of the US. The trip, run by Soufun Holdings, one of China’s largest real estate companies, kicked off in Boston and continued on to San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. For a fee of US$3,600 apiece, tour group members perused homes in the US$500,000 to US$1 million range.
The trip was so popular that Soufun had to turn away 400 applicants.
“Every day people are calling about it,” said Zhao Xinyu, public relations manager at Soufun’s Beijing office. Based on customer demand, Soufun may expand such trips to include Australia, the UK and Japan.
The popularity of Soufun’s trip has led to speculation that this might signal a new trend in Chinese spending habits, with individuals looking to store more of their wealth overseas.