Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chinese Shoppers Everywhere

Chinese on Global Homebuying Spree as Local Markets Tighten
Investors are grabbing everything from $68,000 foreclosed condominiums in Florida to $2 million beachfront villas in Vietnam, a buying spree fueled by China’s surging wealth . . .
I would amend that to "surging concentration of wealth". Subtle, but significant difference.
Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Sri Lanka . . . London
In 2008, none of the 82 million pounds of overseas transactions in London’s Canary Wharf and Docklands areas for existing homes involved Chinese buyers, according to London- based Savills. Last year, they accounted for 40 percent of the 100 million pounds of property acquired by foreign investors. Residential prices in prime central London rose 2 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months.
Vancouver, San Francisco
In the U.S., Chinese buyers have helped support home sales and prices in Silicon Valley and Hawaii, while they are an increasing presence in Las Vegas and New York, according to local brokers. They accounted for 9 percent of U.S. home purchases by foreigners in the 12 months ended in March of both 2010 and 2011, up from 5 percent in 2009 . . .
The annual limit for Chinese citizens to buy foreign currencies is $50,000, according to China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange. It’s an obstacle many can get around.

“Most of these buyers are rich and they have their trade companies or rep offices in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore,” said Larry Hu, a Shanghai-based director of the residential department for Knight Frank LLP. “Those places don’t have currency controls, so they can pay via their companies’ offshore accounts.”
I still expect that as soon as the Chinese government is crimped for cash (note that the estimated bad local debt equals nearly half the Chinese foreign reserves) this buying spree by the well-connected will be stopped dead.

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