People from China bought more than $2 billion in residential real estate in the Puget Sound area in 2013, and it doesn’t appear that that number will be decreasing anytime soon, according to a new report by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Chinese buyers are lured here by our clean air and good schools, and by the fact that they are able to buy a large home here for the same price that a small condo would cost in Beijing or Shanghai.
Tere Foster, a residential agent with Windermere, told the PSBJ that while many Chinese buyers buy homes here to use as their residence, many also buy them simply as part of an investment portfolio and let them sit vacant. Chinese investor groups have also been getting in on the commercial market in the past several years, having bought the First Congregational Church property in Bellevue for $30 million, and another Bellevue development site for $31 million. Many transactions, for sales of both residential and commercial properties, are being conducted in all cash, making closings much quicker than those involving financing, an obvious incentive for sellers.
Local brokerages are fully embracing the influx from East Asia, hiring Mandarin-speaking agents and forming divisions specifically to serve Chinese buyers. PSBJ cites a statistic from the National Association of Realtors that says there are more than 2 million millionaires in China, 47 percent of whom plan to move out of China within the next five years, meaning that the flow from China to Seattle has most likely just begun.