Chinese homebuyers spent $13.5 billion dollars in international real estate, more than double what they spent last year according to real estate firm Savills. Many are attributing this increase to social media and access to agents via the internet.
As sales in Hong Kong and Singapore begin to slow, Reuters reports that Chinese investment overseas is poised to increase 20 percent in the next decade. As of late, Chinese money has been pouring into cities like New York, London and Sydney.
Chinese sites like QQ, WeChat and Weibo, which have been favored by younger crowds, have been paramount in connecting wealthy Chinese with overseas real estate consultants.
In the second half of 2013, Chinese real estate website Juwai, which connects buyers with agents abroad, was responsible for a potential $1.1 billion in sales.
Andrew Taylor, the co-chief executive officer, says that Juwai, which was launched 2 1/2 years ago, has seen a change in the needs of their clientele. While the main priority of buyers used to be finding a place to live, he says that they are now seeing an increased interest in investment and capital. “They’re asking questions about what’s the capital gain, what’s the yield potential, what’s it like living here and what are the taxes,” Taylor said.
Joel Goodrich, a San Francisco-based luxury real estate agent says that 99 percent of his clients are looking to yield 3 to 4 percent in investments.
Other sites with similar services have also prospered. Sites like Soufan, Meiaoju, and Auproperty are also working to connect Chinese purchasers with international agencies.
In the age of technology, smart businesses know that online presence is everything. US company Zillow Inc is forming a partnership with Beijing Yisheng Leju Information Services Co, in order to reach more Chinese clients. According to Zillow, at the end of March 2013, Chinese buyers were spending an average of $425,000 on US properties, and 69 percent of deals were entirely cash purchases.
Discussing the details of property taxes and square footage over WeChat and Weibo has helped bring Chinese buyers into foreign markets. Gladys Wang, a Chinese real estate agent in Houston, has used Weibo to connect with consumers. With 1,400 followers on the Twitter-like site, Wang said, “Nowadays consumers look at reviews before they make a purchase. Social media is good for this. They have more trust in me than those who found me through ads, because they have been following my Weibo, and that speeds up the buying process.”
image credit: ricardobueno