We all know the housing market in the Puget Sound region is red hot, with 70 percent of homes selling within the first month. In this competitive, sellers market, some buyers are engaging in bidding wars, with some homes going for several hundred thousand dollars over asking price. Cash offers are becoming commonplace, and Chinese buyers are significant players in the cash real estate market.
With this leverage in mind, Chinese buyers are fast becoming important clientele for Seattle real estate brokers.
According to Juwai.com, there are 2.8 million high-net-worth Chinese. For the first time, Chinese have surpassed Canadians as the top foreign buyers of U.S. homes.
National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that Chinese buyers spent $28.6 billion on U.S. residential real estate from April 2014 to March 2015. Why buy in the U.S.? They’re buying for financial security, great educational resources for their children, and they are attracted to the legal system here in the U.S.
In other words, the peace of mind of knowing their assets are secure.
Why is the Puget Sound attractive to Chinese buyers, besides the obvious lure of being surrounded by all this beauty and nature? Quality education is a huge draw.
According to NAR, 39 percent of home sales to Chinese in 2014 and early 2015 were for primary residences, while another 7 percent were bought for children while they attend university in the U.S. According to Juwai.com, 80 percent of China’s affluent people have definite plans to send their children abroad to study.
The University of Washington is internationally ranked as No. 33 out of 100 by www.TimesHigherEducation.co.uk, one of many websites that cater to international students. The quality of school districts, especially on the Eastside, including Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah, is another huge draw for Chinese buyers wanting to give their younger children the best education money can buy.
Chinese investors also like the transparency of the legal system here in the U.S., and the fact that property rights are guaranteed. They also seem to have a more “brick and mortar” approach to real estate, not concerned as much about appreciation or returns, but instead, focusing on stable returns. With the recent volatility of the Chinese stock market, investors are scrambling to get their money out of China as quickly as possible and “park” it in U.S. real estate.
With the availability of homes in a variety of neighborhoods, including luxury homes that attract high-wealth Chinese, it’s not surprising that Seattle is a perfect fit.