Chinese buyers have been at the center of many international real estate conversations the past few years. Although this demographic’s U.S. residential real estate investment is expected to slightly drop this year, that isn’t stopping real estate professionals from finding out what makes this integral segment of buyers tick.


Courtesy of 2017 Chinese International Property Report

Investorist recently released its 2017 Chinese International Property Report, which revealed exactly what keeps Chinese buyers coming to the states in the midst of economic and political changes: education.

According to the study, education is the no. 1 driver of migration for Chinese buyers moving to the U.S., up from the no. 2 spot in 2016.

Investorist Vice President of Sales Josh Cunningham says survey respondents noted access to high-level Ivy League education at schools such as Columbia, Cornell and Stanford, was essential in ensuring their children’s success.

“[The reasons] do vary but the sentiment of our survey is mainly based on higher education opportunities at the collegiate level — generally by the time the children are old enough to live abroad,” Cunningham said in an emailed statement.

“Obviously, everyone wants their children to have the best education possible, but for [the] Chinese there’s a strong desire for their children to experience a western education beyond the borders of China.”

The American cities that have most benefitted from this education boom are New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Boston.

Courtesy of 2017 Chinese International Property Report

Why Los Angeles?

  • WalletHub overall education rank: 89/150
  • Chinese buyers are attracted to a robust Chinatown that’s located in downtown LA. The neighborhood has a wealth of restaurants, shops and art galleries easily accessible to residents.
  • “Sweet spot” pricing: $480,000 – $700,000
  • Most desirable type of inventory: Single-family homes
  • Top draws for Chinese investment: Access to Hollywood, and bargain pricing, especially compared to San Francisco

Why Miami?

  • WalletHub overall education rank: 94/150
  • There’s no Chinatown yet, but the city of North Miami has unveiled new drawings of its planned Chinatown Cultural Arts and Innovation District
  • “Sweet spot” pricing: $300,000 – $700,000
  • Most desirable type of inventory: Condominiums and single-family homes
  • Top draws for Chinese investment: “Wall Street of the South” (no. 2 financial hub next to NYC), cosmopolitan lifestyle and idyllic weather, rising land values and an increasing amount of Chinese students at the prestigious University of Miami

Why New York City?

  • WalletHub overall education rank: 36/150
  • This Chinatown is well-known all over the world for its rich history and plethora of options for anyone who enjoys food, culture, entertainment and shopping
  • “Sweet spot” pricing: $850,000 – $2 million
  • Most desirable type of inventory: Condominiums and single-family homes
  • Top draws for Chinese investment: World’s no. 1 financial hub, academic excellence, the prestige of owning property, rising land values in Queens and Brooklyn, and spike in development in those boroughs

Why San Francisco?

  • WalletHub overall education rank: 8/150
  • San Francisco is home to the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese enclave outside Asia.
  • “Sweet spot” pricing: $650,000 – $1.5 million
  • Most desirable type of inventory: Condominiums
  • Top draws for chinese investment: Appeal of Silicon Valley’s tech hub, strong economic growth and soaring returns on investment

Why Boston-Cambridge?

  • WalletHub overall education rank: 27/150
  • Boston is home to the only surviving historic ethnic Chinese area in New England since the demise of the Chinatowns in Providence, Rhode Island and Portland, Maine after the 1950’s.
  • “Sweet spot” pricing: $400,000 – $600,000
  • Most desirable type of inventory: Condominiums
  • Top draws for Chinese investment: Famous colleges and universities, affordability versus other academically-driven cities, vibrant urban core and rise of luxury-branded condominiums such as Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences. Boston also ranks no. 3 in terms of the number of international students in U.S. metro areas, trailing New York and Los Angeles.

Cunningham says agents strengthen their service to Chinese buyers by educating themselves about Chinese culture and listening to the specific needs of this demographic.

“In the U.S., many of the top developers and brokerages are still focused on generic selling points like their development’s walking distance to shops or public transportation versus highlighting important factors such as access to education and the demographics of the area, including nearby Chinatowns or other Chinese developers investing into the community,” said Cunningham.

“Taking the time to understand what platforms to engage when marketing their projects (like Investorist and WeChat), what time of year to market most effectively (like Golden Weeks, Chinese New Year), what cities to spend their marketing dollars in and how to get the best sales results in the shortest amount of time (like partnering with the right companies), will foster success when marketing to Chinese investors.”

Email Marian McPherson.

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