AgentBrokerage

Chinese buyers are hot: Juwai surveys online buyer habits while Zillow partners with Leju

An international and a domestic portal are taking steps to capture this market segment
  • Juwai.com has launched a new data service for companies wanting to attract Chinese investors.
  • Mainland Chinese buyers invested an estimated US$28.6 billion in
    American real estate last year. This could reach more than US$100 billion per year by 2020.
  • Zillow is launching a WeChat channel with the knowledge that it is the largest messaging and social networking platform in China.

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The Chinese diaspora is far more more likely to purchase international property with the intention of  immigrating than current mainland residents of China, and they are also less likely to purchase for education.

When Chinese citizens purchase property overseas, they do so with an average budget of U.S. $2.6 million, and they are more likely than other Chinese to travel internationally for tourism, luxury goods and medical and other services.

This is the kind of information the market will see more of with the launch of Juwai’s new data service, Juwai IQ, which will be surveying online habits of its monthly 2.6 million users, 80 percent of whom are current mainland residents.

What data is available, and who will buy it?

The data is most likely to be of interest to developers, corporations and large real estate companies wanting to attract investment into their markets.

Juwai.com showcases 2.5 million listings from 89 countries. Headquartered in Shanghai, it has 2.6 million monthly users from 403 cities in China and 165 countries around the world.

Andrew Taylor, co-CEO of Juwai.com, said: “For all the excitement about Chinese consumers, precious little data and factual knowledge about their behavior has been available until now.”

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“We want to help those who need to work with these consumers understand how they think, shop, travel, buy and bank.”

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Juwai recently won an award for being the top international property portal by the China Electronic Commerce Association.

“Last year, mainland Chinese buyers invested an estimated U.S. $28.6 billion in American real estate, and that could reach more than U.S. $100 billion per year by 2020,” said Taylor.

Current U.S. markets most actively trying to attract Chinese real estate investors include California, Washington State and New York City, said Juwai’s Global Communications Director, Dave Platter.

“There are so many agents and sellers there who are really aware of the (Chinese buyer) market. California would be the no. 1 state for Chinese buyers and New York City the no. 1 city,” he said.

“What’s surprised me is that Florida has really upped its game. Individual agents are reaching out, and a Realtor network has been in touch,” added Platter.

The business model

Juwai, which means “home overseas” in Chinese, acts as an intermediary between Chinese investors and markets they are interested in such as the US and Australia.

Juwai gets its listings from partnerships with individual agents, agency offices, small agency networks, developers, large agency networks and larger networks such as Listhub, Luxury Portfolio International, LuxuryHomes.com, Auction.com, New Home Feed, Tribeca Homes and the network of Long & Foster.

A call center, staffed partly by journalists, fields inquiries from buyers often via social media such as WeChat.

“These buyers need a lot more hand-holding,” said Platter.

The call center sends through a lead to the agent, and Juwai can offer assistance if the agent needs help with the language.

Zillow wants a piece of the pie, too

Speaking at last week’s Luxury Connect conference, Zillow Group COO Amy Bohutinsky said Zillow wanted to be the first point of contact for Chinese homebuyers entering the U.S. market. It is doing this through its partnership with Leju, a leading real estate services company in China.

Chinese Leju visitors searching for U.S. homes are brought to a Zillow-Leju co-branded website, enabling them to access all the U.S. homes on Zillow.

Zillow is also working on launching a WeChat channel. WeChat is the largest messaging and social networking platform in China. Currently, WeChat users can find Zillow content about the U.S. real estate market translated into Mandarin on the channel.

Bohutinsky urged Zillow Premier agents to list their ability to speak Chinese dialects on their Zillow profiles.

“Chinese buyers want to know if agents can speak Mandarin,” she said.

“As China-based buyers are one of the largest purchasers of U.S. real estate, we’re investing in tools and experiences to help not only attract this audience of home shoppers, but make it much easier for them to connect with agents and brokers,” said Zillow spokeswoman Amanda Woolley.

Email Gill South.