If you’re looking to sell overseas property fast, your best chance is to target Chinese buyers. That’s because Chinese buyers have been among the biggest buyers of overseas property since 2010. Chinese investors today have a presence in all top overseas property destinations.
In this article, we discuss the top 10 countries where the Chinese are buying overseas property. All stats given here are from 2015 and have been taken from various sources, including Juwai.com, the top Chinese international property portal.
Before we get started it is important to note that the list of the top overseas property destinations preferred by Chinese buyers is very fluid, the international property market is always changing, so, what’s hot today may not be so a year from now.
For example, given below is a graph that represents the top destinations in Europe for Chinese investors from 2005 to 2013. This list, you will find, is slightly different from the one for 2015-16.
But this should not be taken to mean that Chinese buyers are fickle or unsure about where they want to buy. On the contrary, Chinese buyers are among the savviest investors you will find. They are very meticulous about their research and think through the whole process beforehand.
They talk to friends and families, trusted agents specialising in overseas property, use the power of the social media and do their research on the internet before deciding which country or city to invest in. Keeping this in mind, here is a list of the top 10 overseas property destinations for Chinese buyers.
Malaysia is a country that most Chinese are familiar with. Malaysia has a large ethnic Chinese population and a vast majority of Malaysia’s top businessmen and real estate developers are of Chinese origin. For this reason, Malaysia has always been popular with Chinese investors. One of China’s biggest developers announced plans to develop homes and hotels in Malaysia targeted at mainland Chinese through a project worth $3.26 billion. Malaysia is not as popular as Singapore, which is in the same neighbourhood.
Spain lags behind Portugal in the list of the top overseas property destinations favoured by Chinese buyers, but not for long, as the demand for Spanish property from Chinese investors has shot up by 392% over the last 12 months, according to Juwai.com. Chinese buyers are attracted by Spain’s Golden Visa scheme which guarantees residency permits in Spain to non-EU investors who buy Spanish properties worth 500,000 Euros or more.
Indeed, the Chinese are among the fastest growing groups of foreign buyers in Spain, up by 26% in Q4 of 2015, second only to the British. Chinese buyers are attracted by Spain’s perfect Mediterranean weather, laid back lifestyle and love living in Barcelona and Madrid, two of the most beautiful cities in the world.
They also like that the luxury properties in Spain cost a lot less than those in London or Paris. Barcelona is their favourite destination in Spain, while Valencia remains popular too. An average Chinese spends between €728,000 and €920,000 on properties in Spain.
We have often talked about the popularity of Portugal with Chinese buyers in this blog, and it is very true. Portugal is more popular than even Spain with Chinese buyers, especially rich business executives from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, who see Portugal as a gateway to Africa and South America.
They are also attracted by Portugal’s Golden Visa which promises the right to live in Portugal, a chance to apply for Portuguese citizenship after 6 years and right to travel across Europe to non-EU investors who buy properties in Portugal worth 500,000 Euros or more. That’s why a number of wealthy Chinese are relocating to Portugal as it represents on the easiest ways for them to become EU citizens.
Singapore is reckoned by many to be the best place to live in Asia and has a large Chinese population. Singapore has always been one of the most popular countries with Chinese property hunters, but this year it falls out of the top-5 because of the measures introduced by the Singapore government to curb property purchases by Chinese investors.
Thailand is fast moving up the popularity charts as far as Chinese buyers are concerned, and this is in spite of the political turbulence in that country. Thai resort towns such as Pattaya are very popular with Chinese buyers and have a large Chinese community. Thailand is geographically close to China, and it fulfils a desire that many Chinese have for an overseas holiday home close to China.
#5: New Zealand
New Zealand is fast growing in popularity with Chinese buyers. Today Chinese buyers account for 25% of all foreign investors in New Zealand real estate, and have even overtaken the Australian and British interest in New Zealand. In fact, there has been a 15 to 20 percent increase in the Chinese interest in New Zealand over the past 12 months, according to Simon Henry, the CEO of Juwai.com. The average Chinese investor spends an average of $1.4 million NZD on apartments in New Zealand.
#4: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is one of the top overseas destinations that has attracted property investors from China since the turn of the century. Chinese real estate investment in London has been phenomenally high, at $2.8 billion. The British Prime Minister David Cameron has made a concerted effort to get more Chinese to invest in the UK and to strengthen ties between the two countries.
The most attractive aspect of the UK for Chinese investors is the city of London. London is one of the world’s greatest cities and so owning an apartment in a posh London neighbourhood such as Brentford, Belsize Park or Wimbledon is considered to be a status symbol among the Chinese rich. But it’s not just about London, there are many Chinese who have been seen looking for homes in much smaller cities such as Manchester and Newcastle.
Chinese investors are among the biggest buyers of apartments in two of Canada’s biggest cities – Vancouver and Toronto. Both of these cities have a large Chinese community and have an excellent supply of new properties, which attracts clients from China despite high property prices.
Chinese investors like the fact that Canada offers one of the highest standards of living in the world. Many have children in some of the top universities in Canada. An average Chinese investor generally buys 4-bedroom homes in Canada worth CAD$1.3 million.
Although the property market in Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Toronto are hot, this is nowhere close to the property prices seen in New York or London. So we expect the Chinese interest in Canada to increase further over the next few years.
Australia has always been popular with Chinese property hunters. In fact, there are many real estate experts who attribute the spectacular increase in property prices in Melbourne and Sydney since 2006 to the overseas interest from China. There is a lot that Chinese investors find attractive about Australia.
For one, the weak Australia dollar means the Chinese yuan goes far in Australian. Australia has one of the best standards of living in the world, a great lifestyle, high quality education, a love for the outdoors and an encouraging environment for entrepreneurs and business owners. All of these factors have combined to make Australia every Chinese investor’s dream destination.
Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane are the most popular destinations in Australia for Chinese investors. Perth, Gold Coast and Adelaide find a plenty of takers too. There is a large Chinese community in Australia, which is another factor that goes in its favour.
The United States is by far the most popular overseas property destination with Chinese buyers. The Chinese have invested $28.6 billion on homes and apartments in the USA, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in 2015, which is twice as much as they did in 2014.
What makes Chinese buyers different is that they spend more than any other nationality on American properties. Chinese investors spend an average of $831,000 per house in the USA, compared to the average for other foreign citizens of $499,600 and $232,500 for U.S. citizens.
The reason they spend so much is that Chinese prefer to buy homes and apartments in the most expensive locations in the U.S. such as the Manhattan in particular and New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles in general. The Chinese are also big time spenders on commercial real estate in the U.S. spending over $17 billion between 2010 and 2015 on office towers and hotels in the country.
They have since shifted focus to other cities in the U.S. such as Austin, Seattle and Chicago. California gets about 30% of Chinese investment followed by Washington State at 8% and New York at 7%.
Why do Chinese spend so much on U.S. properties? Well, it’s pretty simple – the U.S. is the richest country in the world and offers the highest quality of living that you will get anywhere in the world. America is also the best place in the world to do business. Property rights in the U.S. are very strong indeed, unlike in China. Also, a number of Chinese investors have their children studying in Ivy League colleges in the U.S.
So these are the most popular overseas property destinations among Chinese property hunters. Will the rankings remain the same or change next year, or even in the next quarter? Will there be a new country in this list? We will be sure to keep you informed, so watch this space.