Wealthy foreign buyers from China have been seeking a suburban reprieve in America, says CityLab writer Linda Poon. Chinese citizens have been the top foreign buyers of homes in the U.S. for the past three years and are at a record high. Between April 2016 and March 2017, Chinese buyers purchased more than 40,500 housing units, worth a total of $31.7 billion. That's up from of 29,000 units and $27.3 billion the year before. 67% of those units were single-family homes, and 61% of all sales were made in suburban areas.
Wealthy Chinese buyers are long-term property investors who buy homes with future generations in mind, says The Wall Street Journal (3 June 2014). A survey on high-net-worth Chinese by Sotheby's International Realty revealed 93% are more likely to buy a home for their offspring – as compared to 64% in the US – and will shell out $1 million – $3 million on homes for their children and generations to come. Home value appreciation is the main factor driving affluent Chinese property investors – 99% consider ROI as crucial. Recent data from Juwai.com shows that Chinese buyers from Tier-1 cities (Shanghai, Guangzhou) prefer US and Australia, while Tier-2 cities (Chengdu, Kunming, Harbin) opt for Spain, Germany and France. According to Andrew Taylor, Co-CEO of Juwai.com, “Consumers in tier-2 cities are more adventurous than their tier-1 compatriots. They seem to be leading the charge into the furthest-flung international real-estate markets.”