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  • The reasons the Chinese are buying here in the U.S.
  • Trends among Chinese buyers and which factors influence their buying habits.
  • Examples of what one group in Atlanta is doing to market to Asian investors.

Investors from China are one of the largest foreign groups investing in real estate in the U.S., and they are buying everything from commercial to residential real estate.

This trend is partially due to the availability of EB-5 visas, which allow buyers to obtain a green card in the U.S. through investment. EB-5 visas offer permanent residency to foreigners in exchange for an investment of at least $1 million that creates or preserves a minimum of 10 jobs.

Investing in real estate projects has become a popular way for foreigners to acquire the visas.


What’s driving investment

Factors contributing to Chinese investors purchasing real estate in the U.S. include access to education, immigration and pricing. Many Chinese investors are buying homes located in proximity to top schools and communities.

In Atlanta, we have experienced an influx of buyers in the Buckhead and Midtown areas, located near top-tier colleges such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.

Schools and safety are among their top concerns when making decisions about which neighborhood to call home.

Becoming equally as common is investors buying a home or condominium five to seven years ahead of an actual need and saving it for when children or grandchildren are of age to attend nearby private schools or highly ranked colleges.

For most Chinese buyers, the U.S. real estate market is still relatively a bargain compared to China.

The average price per square foot in cities such as San Francisco and New York is $830; the average price per square foot in Hong Kong is nearly three times more at $2,578.

Additionally, concerns remain about potential new taxes and inflation in China.

Cities such as Atlanta are poised to capture these buyers with investment opportunities at a lower price point than cities such as Los Angeles and New York. What costs $2 million in Atlanta can cost upward of $10 million in some larger cities.

Reaching Chinese buyers

The sales and marketing team at The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, has employed many successful strategies to capture this audience.

The Residences’ website and collateral materials are available in two forms of Mandarin Chinese, traditional and simplified. Interested buyers can submit their information and questions in Chinese, and we can translate submission back into English.

We have also taken additional measures to keep pace with the growing number of buyers from China and all across Asia, as well as all those who value the traditions such as the harmonizing elements of feng shui.

We have engaged two well-respected consultants to conduct energy space clearings and blessing ceremonies in select homes, which is a common practice in China. We offer consultations for current and future residents as well.

Real estate agents should also look for local organizations that these buyers are likely to be involved in as a way to reach this audience. We are working with the local chapter of the National Association of Chinese Americans to partner on events.

Looking ahead

As long as the U.S. continues to offer the EB-5 visa and the residential real estate market in China remains unstable, the trend of Chinese investors buying residential property should continue.

Cities similar to Atlanta that offer safe, luxury properties in desirable areas with access to highly regarded colleges are likely to receive an increasing amount of interest from Chinese buyers.

Additionally, Atlanta’s large international airport makes it easy for these buyers to get to and from the U.S. We anticipate that we will continue to see Chinese investment for many years to come and so will cities similar to Atlanta. It’s a good time to start marketing toward Asian investors.

Karen Rodriguez is the president of Group KORA and the exclusive listing broker for The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta. Visit Group KORA‘s website for more information.

Email Karen Rodriguez.

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