San Francisco is now the most popular city for Chinese looking to invest their money in real estate overseas.
According to data from luxury real estate listing website PropGoLuxury.com, which compiled millions of online searches from Chinese buyers, San Francisco climbed from a ranking of seventh in the fourth quarter of 2014 to first in the first quarter of 2015, reports SF Gate.
Ranking below San Francisco, London, Tuscany, New York, and Paris rounded out the top-5 favorite cities worldwide for Chinese investors. Overall, the most searched city was Hong Kong.
San Francisco has captured first place because, to many Chinese investors, it is seen as a relative bargain when compared to the other cities below it on the list, says Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Bay Area-based luxury realtor Pacific Union International.
“For many well-heeled Chinese buyers, the entire U.S. housing market, and even the somewhat pricey S.F. Bay Area remains a bargain versus Hong Kong, New York, London and Beijing. Bay Area real estate represents an attractive opportunity for investment or purchasing second homes for themselves or primary residences for family members,” he said.
McLaughlin also noted that San Francisco’s school system, as well as “clean air and proximity to vineyards, the ocean and the mountains” make the area even more attractive to Chinese investors. For McLaughlin’s Chinese customers, Palo Alto was the most popular, where 25 percent of buyers have a “Chinese connection.” In San Francisco, 20 percent have a “Chinese connection,” whereas it is 10 percent throughout the rest of the Bay Area.
To capitalize on the Chinese interest in the area, McLaughlin’s company, Pacific Union International, which is associated with Christie’s real estate division in most markets, opened a concierge service last year. In addition to helping Chinese buyers with their property purchases, the service introduces them to private clubs, immigration attorneys, local schools, and health care services.
Along with Christie’s Art Auction, Pacific Union recently hosted 130 Chinese clients, allowing them access to a private exhibition of post-war and contemporary paintings that will be auctioned off in New York later this month.
image credit: david yu