• Mandarin Chinese-speaking buyers are noticeably active in Seattle and Southern California.
  • The volume of homes purchased by this buyer type has risen significantly since 2005.
  • A higher volume of all-cash deals may be a continuing trend.

Mandarin Chinese-speaking buyers are accounting for more overall U.S. home purchases and are routinely paying with all cash.

Analysis of RealtyTrac‘s data by Ethnic Technologies shows that 46 percent of Mandarin Chinese-speaking buyers who purchased homes in the 17 months ending May 2015 paid all-cash. This percentage is up 229 percent from the 14 percent share paying all-cash in 2005 — the biggest increase of any language group examined.

“Cash buyers across the board are playing a much bigger role in the housing market now than they were 10 years ago, and that is particularly true for Chinese Mandarin-speaking cash buyers, who are more likely to be foreign nationals,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

MCarter / Shutterstock.com

MCarter / Shutterstock.com

Chinese buyers are particularly active in Seattle, where it is estimated they represent 40 to 50 percent of all real estate activity within the city’s most expensive neighborhoods. O.B. Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, notes that 75 percent of these buyers pay in cash.

“While some call this a trend, I believe it’s an emerging aspect of our market that’s here to stay for the foreseeable future,” Jacobi added.

In Southern California, Mark Hughes, COO with First Team Real Estate, expects Chinese buyers to be a driver of activity and bidding through the remainder of 2015.

Among all language groups, the share of all-cash buyers of increased 65 percent from a 20 percent share in 2005 to a 33 percent share in the 17 months ending in May 2015.

“Foreign cash buyers have helped to accelerate U.S. home price appreciation over the past few years given that these buyers are often not as constrained by income as local, traditionally financed buyers,” said Zachary Wilhoit, CEO of Ethnic Technologies.

Email Erik Pisor

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